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Early Western Travels 
1 748-1 846 

Volume VIII 

Early Western Travels 


A Series of Annotated Reprints of some of the best 
and rarest contemporary volumes of travel, de- 
scriptive of the Aborigines and Social and 
Economic Conditions in the Middle 
and Far West, during the Period 
of Early American Settlement 

Edited with Notes, Introduftions, Index, etc., by 

Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D. 

Editor of **The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents," "Original 

Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," "Hennepin's 

New Discovery," etc. 

Volume VIII 
Buttrick's Voyages, 1812-1819 
Evans's Pedestrious Tour, 1818 

Cleveland, Ohio 

The Arthur H. Clark Company 


Copyright 1904, by 




Preface. The Editor 

Voyages, Travels, and Discoveries. TUly Buttrick, Jr. 

Author's Prefatory Remarks 19 

Text 21 


A Pedestrious Tour, of Four Thousand Miles, through 
THE Western States and Territories, dviring the 
Winter and Spring of 1818. Interspersed with Brief 
Reflections upon a great variety of Topics: Religious, 
Moral, Political, Sentimental, &c., &c. Estwick Evans 

Copyright Notice, 1818 96 

Copyright Notice, 181 9 . . . . . .98 

Author's Preface ....... 99 

Text loi 


Facsimile of title-page to Buttrick's Voyages . . - 17 

Portrait of Estwick Evans (frontispiece to his book) . . 94 

Facsimile of title-page to Evans's Tour . . . - 95 


The journals of the two American travellers whose 
works have been selected for volume viii of our series, 
form an interesting contrast and complement to one 
another. Tilly Buttrick, Jr., was by nature a wanderer. 
The early pages of his quaint little book give the princi- 
pal facts of his biography, particularly his adventures at 
sea. It is the narrative of one to whom strange lands and 
distant vistas irresistibly appeal. He tells his story with 
a straightforward simplicity that transports the reader 
through the scenes that the author has beheld. The 
wandering disposition that had first carried him far 
abroad, induced Buttrick to spend several years roaming 
through the Great West, and the same quality of pictur- 
esque clarity of narration makes his journal useful to stu- 
dents of that section. 

Reverting from the Far West of the trans-Mississippi 
and Oregon country — whither the journals of the Astori- 
ans have led us in the three preceding volumes of our 
series — we find the Middle West of the Michauxs, Har- 
ris, and Cuming passing into a new stage of progress. 
The tide of emigration flowing from the older states down 
the Ohio River, and spreading out into Ohio and Kentucky 
on either hand, was checked by the second war with Eng- 
land, and the ruthless inroads of the savages whom the 
British encouraged. In this war the new West bore its 
full share; having successfully defended its long frontier, 
it emerged triumphant in spirit, but financially and in- 
dustrially exhausted. Not until the second great wave 
of immigration began (1815-18), at the close of this strug- 

I o Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

gle, was the region again blessed with prosperity, and able 
to renew its checked development. 

Into this changing West the wanderer Buttrick came. 
Arrived at Buffalo before the declaration of war, he was 
upon the Canadian side of the Niagara frontier when the 
fateful news arrived, and for a brief time was detained as a 
hostage by the British General Brock. When released, he 
returned to Massachusetts; but two years later started for 
Kentucky — passing west through New York State, and 
floating down the Allegheny and Ohio to Cincinnati. On 
this journey he gives us an interesting picture of river life, 
and its exigencies; while with graphic pen he portrays the 
bad roads, fever and ague, and deserted condition of the 
country through which he returned to his Eastern home. 

In 1 815 began his longest journey through the West. 
He encountered at Olean, on the Allegheny, a large body 
of Eastern emigrants who were awaiting the opening of 
navigation and the rise of the Western rivers. Swept rap- 
idly down on the freshet, Buttrick landed in Kentucky; but 
having been attacked by his old enemy, fever and ague, he 
embarked for New Orleans, thus enabling him to draw for 
us a brief but vivid picture of Mississippi navigation. 
From the Southern metropolis Buttrick started on foot for 
the North, over the route known as the Natchez trail — 
a wild and lonely journey of a thousand miles, through the 
land of semi-hostile Indians and backwoodsmen nearly as 
savage. Upon this hazardous journey he was ' ' generally 
alone, always sick, often hungry, sometimes nearly 
starved," and beset by drunken Indians; but he struggled 
on, arriving in Cincinnati after forty-seven days en route. 

While the chief interest of Buttrick's journal lies in his 
own adventures, yet these are in a way typical of Western 
conditions, and throw much light on the hardships of 
pioneers, and the devastations of the War of 1812-15. 

1812-1819] Preface 1 1 

The book we here reprint is very rare. Published as an 
eleemosynary appeal to readers on behalf of its unfortu- 
nate author, who had become blind through his hard- 
ships, a small edition was put forth, and no copies are now 
known to be upon the market. Its reprint will, there- 
fore, be a welcome addition to the journals of Western 

Estwick Evans, whose Pedestrious Tour oj Four Thou- 
sand Miles, through the Western States and Territories, 
comprises the second part of this volume, was, in his way, 
a philosopher — a man imbued with early nineteenth-cen- 
tury views of the return to nature and the charm of savage 
life. Slipping the leavSh of the restraints of civilization, 
and influenced by a strange mixture of Quixotism and 
stoicism, our author set forth from his New Hampshire 
home in the dead of an extreme winter, and crossed the 
frozen, almost trackless waste to the frontier post of 
Detroit. His copyright notice contains the following epit- 
ome of the journey : ' ' The blast of the north is on the 
plain : the traveller shrinks in the midst of his journey. ' ' 

Evans was born (1787) of good New England ancestry, 
at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Largely self-educated, 
he was admitted to the bar in 181 1, and won popularity 
by espousing the cause of the oppressed, taking up cases 
for sailors, people in poor circumstances — those fleeced 
by self-seeking lawyers. A prominent colleague said of 
him : ' ' Evans had about as much influence as any one, 
because he was a clever fellow, honest, poor, and not well 
treated, and the people sympathized with him." He 
volunteered for the War of 181 2-1 5, but was rejected on 
account of a physical disability. After his adventurous 
Western journey, he married and settled in New Hamp- 
shire, at one time (1822-24) serving in the state legislature. 
His vein of Quixotism never left him; he desired to fight 

1 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

for South American independence, and actually left for 
Greece in order to join her armies, but arrived after the 
battle of Navarino and saw no bloodshed. In 1829 he 
removed to Washington, and throughout the remainder 
of his life practiced law, and served in the government 
offices, frequently contributing to the National Intelli- 
gencer. He died in New York, November 20, 1866.' 

Despite the eccentricity of Evans's purpose, and the 
grotesque dress of buffalo skins in which he attired him- 
self for his Western journey; despite, also, his constant 
tendency to moralize and involve himself and the reader 
in a maze of speculation, his comments upon the men and 
conditions which he saw in the course of his long tour are 
shrewd, eminently sane, and practical. The Western 
New York of 181 8 is vividly portrayed; the solitude of 
Northern Ohio, and the difficulties of the Sandusky swamps 
are made known; glimpses of the Indians of the vicinity 
are afforded. However, the chief value of the narrative 
commences when the author reaches Detroit. From that 
place through the remainder of the journey, to Presqu' 
Isle, and down the Allegheny, Ohio, and Mississippi to 
New Orleans, Evans was keenly alert for all manner of 
information that bore upon the war, the state of agricul- 
ture, the topography and settlement of the country, and 
the general industrial conditions. Much of his material 
was obtained from first-hand participants and explorers, 
and bears the stamp of accuracy. He gives us one of the 
best pictures we possess of early Michigan Territory, the 
French habitants contrasted with American settlers, the 
influence of the fur-trade, and the scattered posts in this 
far-away region. His description, also, of early Indiana 
and Illinois presents interesting phases. At New Orleans 

' These biographical details are from Bell, Bench atid Bar oj New Hamp- 
shire (Boston, 1894), p. 343. 

1812-1819] Preface 1 3 

he encountered the remnants of French civiHzation, 
whose picturesque minghng with American backwoods 
life presented startHng contrasts. ' ' Here may be seen in 
the same crowd Creoles, Quadroons, mulattoes, Samboes, 
Mustizos, Indians, and Negroes; and there are other com- 
binations not yet classified." Evans viewed the dissipa- 
tions, pleasures, and excitements of the Southern metrop- 
olis with the eye of a New England Puritan, broadened, 
however, by his contact with French philosophy and liber- 
alism. ' ' The wonderful wealth and physical force of the 
United States" makes a strong impression on his mind; 
and looking forward with the eye of a prophet, he fore- 
sees the development which a hundred years will bring, 
and the power that will make all Europe tremble. 

From New Orleans, Evans returned to New Hamp- 
shire by sea, having had, perchance, his fill of travels in 
the wilderness, and having found ' ' amidst the solitude and 
grandeur of the Western wilds more correct views of human 
nature and of the true interests of man." His book is 
both diverting and informing, and fills its place in the 
chronicles of the early West. 

Louise Phelps Kellogg, Ph.D., Edith Kathryn Lyle, 
Ph.D., and Mr. Archer Butler Hulbert have assisted the 
Editor in the annotation of this volume. 

R. G. T. 

Madison, Wis., September, 1904. 

Buttrick's Voyages, Travels, and Discoveries 

Reprint of the original edition : Boston, 183 1 






John Puto&m, Priater. 



In preparing this little work for the press, the Editor 
had not only in view the interest with which an enlight- 
ened people seize upon facts not previously in their pos- 
session; but sympathy for this unfortunate traveller, who 
by misfortune has now not only become bereft of his prop- 
erty, but, by providential circumstances, of his sight, con- 
tributed to induce him to copy it for the press. And he 
confidentially trusts, if the information contained in the 
following work is not sufficient to induce every individual 
to become a purchaser, that sympathy for the past and 
present sufferings of a fellow creature will forbid them to 
withhold the small sum solicited for the pamphlet. 


I WAS born in Westford, County of Middlesex, and 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, on the sixth day of July, 
1783. I lived with my father, Tilly Buttrick, until I was 
ten years old ; when he removed to Princeton, in the County 
of Worcester, where was the summer seat and residence 
of his Honor Lieutenant Governor Moses Gill. I was 
put to Mr. Gill, where I lived in his service five years, after 
which I went and lived with my father, who now lived 
in Groton, near where I was born, two years. At the ex- 
piration of that time, being in my seventeenth year, I was 
placed by my father in a mercantile house, in Boston. 
My master, D. Hastings Esq., was a respectable mer- 
chant, and one of the best of men. With him I resided 
until I was twenty one years of age. Being desirous of 
seeing more of the world than my present situation allowed, 
I resolved to go to sea. Accordingly I shipped on board 
the fine ship Alnomak, of Boston, bound for the Isle of 
France. Our crew consisted of seventeen in number, 
mounting eight guns. On the tenth of September, 1804, 
we weighed anchor, and left the harbor of Boston, with a 
fair wind, which continued until the twelfth, in the after- 
noon; at which time we were clear of the land; the wind 
then gradually decreased, until we were becalmed, which 
was about six o'clock the same evening. We remained in 
this situation about one hour, and night coming on, it was 
noticed that the sea was greatly agitated; which is very 
uncommon in a calm. 

[6] The night was extremely dark, and the surfs that 
broke about us appeared like huge banks of snow. At 

22 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

this time many observations were made by the crew, the 
oldest sailors observing that we should soon find out the 
meaning of this phenomenon. The wind soon began to 
breeze up ahead, all hands were called to put the vessel 
under close sail, and before nine o'clock it blew a tremen- 
dous gale; which obliged us to lay to, as she was heavily 
laden. The wind continued to blow for thirty six hours, 
and the ship labored with great difficulty. The storm 
then began to abate, and coming about fair, we laid our 
course and proceeded on our voyage. On our way we 
often fell in with large schools of fish of different kinds, 
such as Porpoise, Dolphin, Boneator, &c., and were very 
successful in taking them, which supplied us with some- 
thing fresh to eat. We passed in sight of the island of 
Teneriffe and many other islands, and the coast of Bar- 
bary. In crossing the equator, we were several days be- 
calmed. On the twenty-second of December, we arrived 
at the cape of Good Hope, a Dutch settlement in 
the southern extremity of Africa, and came to 
anchor in Table Bay. We found the people here 
very industrious, working their cattle, which are of 
the Buff aloe kind, by means of a square piece of wood 
lashed to their horns, across the front of their heads. 
Often six or eight yoke of oxen were thus harnessed 
in one team. They were very handsome cattle, except- 
ing the hump on their shoulders, so much resembling 
the Buffaloe. The meat of these cattle is plenty, but 
not equally good with our American oxen, being tough, of 
a yellowish cast, and rather unsavory. Sheep are com- 
mon here, and to appearance much larger than the sheep 
in our own country. This may be owing partly to their 
having longer legs than our sheep, and consequently taller. 
Their meat is excellent, and perhaps equals in flavor any 
found in North America, or any other nation. But their 

i8i 2-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 23 

wool is of little value, being as coarse as dogs' hair. The 
tails of these creatures are sold separate from their bodies, 
and have the appearance of a large lump of tallow weigh- 
ing from fourteen to twenty pounds. 

In the suburbs of the town, I observed two of the feath- 
ered tribe, which I afterward learned were ostriches; [7] 
who, upon discovering me, raised their heads much higher 
than my own, and appeared no less frightened than my- 
self, and were no less willing to make good their retreat. 

The 25th, being Christmas, our sailors undertook to 
imitate the landsmen in cheerfulness and hilarity; the 
night was spent in high glee. Next morning all hands 
were called, but not coming on deck so soon as was ex- 
pected, the mates came forward with handspikes to hurry 
them. They were met by the sailors with the same kind 
of weapons; and although nothing very serious took 
place, yet it caused considerable diflftculty between the 
officers and crew. The captain being on shore was 
soon notified, when a guard of soldiers were sent on 
board; one man was taken and committed to prison on 
shore, where he remained a few days, and was then put 
on board and sent to America. No punishment was 
inflicted upon the remainder, but they were strictly 

Here we remained until the first day of January, 1805, 
when not being able to dispose of our cargo as we ex- 
pected, we weighed anchor and put to sea. But soon a 
twenty four pound ball, fired from the guard ship lying 
one hundred yards distant, besprinkling me with water, 
as I stood on the bowsprit, occasioned us to drop anchor 
and send our pass on board the guard ship, which our 
captain omitted to do, though required by the law of the 
place. This being done, we immediately weighed anchor 
and stood out to sea. 

24 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

The next morning we had lost sight of land, and in the 
course of the day, the wind blev/ a terrible gale; the sea 
ran mountains high, the ship was hove to, and we rode out 
the storm, which continued about twelve hours. After 
which we continued our course with the trade winds about 
forty days. In the mean time our supercargo fell sick and 
in about six weeks died. The usual ceremonies at sea 
were performed, and his remains committed to a watery 
grave. Thinking ourselves far enough to windward of 
the Island, to bear away, we accordingly did so, and run- 
ning twenty-four hours we discovered land. Supposing 
it to be our intended port, we were greatly rejoiced. But 
when coming within four miles of land, to our great morti- 
fication we found it to be the island of [8] Madagascar, 
four hundred and eighty miles to the leeward of the isle 
of France. This was a sorrowful tale for us to hear, as 
we must have a head wind and oftentimes a current in 
our return. We had become short of water, and for sev- 
eral days had been on allowance. 

The grass on the sides of the ship had become one foot 
in length, which greatly impeded our progress and ren- 
dered our situation truly distressing. The ship was put 
about and stood to the south, as near as we could lay to 
the wind. 

The island of Madagascar, is inhabited by negroes, 
with whom little or no trade is carried on by the whites. 
We dared not venture ourselves on shore here, to obtain 
water, for two reasons. First, we were afraid of the rocks 
and shoals, as there were no pilots to be had ; and secondly, 
should we arrive safe on shore, we might be massacred by 
those uncivilized people. 

While ruminating on these unfortunate circumstances, 
our ship was struck by a white squall, very common in 
that eastern world, which carried away our foretop mast 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 25 

and maintop gallant mast and did much damage to the 
sails and rigging. This was probably fortunate for us, as 
the masts must have gone, or the ship upset. The squall 
being over, it soon began to rain very heavily. Stopping 
the scuppers, all who were able employed themselves in 
dipping water from the deck. We filled six casks of a 
hundred gallons each, which proved a very seasonable and 
ample supply. Every exertion was now made, both by 
the officers and crew, and continued until the 20th of 
March, when we considered ourselves far enough to wind- 
ward to bear away, and next morning discovered land, 
and found it to be our long wished for island ; the isle of 
France. The harbor being on the leeward side, we ran 
around, and not finding it so soon as we expected, we saw 
several sail boats lying about, near the shore, and hoped 
to find a pilot among them. But none appearing we fired 
a gun as a signal. Unfortunately the gun was loaded with 
a ball, which went close to several of them. This fright- 
ened the poor Frenchmen, and they made for the shore 
with all possible speed, supposing us to be Englishmen. 
[9] Within thirty minutes we discovered a large sail bear- 
ing towards us from the harbor. On its approaching us to 
our surprise we found it to be a French man of war, ready 
for action; and coming close too, and hailing us, they or- 
dered our captain on board of the ship, and took us un- 
der their protection, and stood for the harbor. We were 
not insensible of the reason of this, from the circumstance 
of the above mentioned shot, which was fired from the en- 
trance of this harbor. The head of the harbor, on which 
the town stands, is about three miles from the entrance. 
The channel being narrow, the only way of getting up is 
by warping, to assist in which buoys are set at a suitable 
distance; a rope is made fast, the ship is hauled to one and 
then to another, and so on through the whole. 

26 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

A gang of negroes were placed on board the vessel, and 
assisted in performing this labor, until we arrived safe on 
our mooring ground. Our captain was then conducted 
on shore, by a guard, and after due examination, was 
found innocent of any ill design. We found this harbor 
a very pleasant and delightful one; and from seventy to 
eighty American vessels lying there. In a few days we 
commenced discharging our cargo and sending it on shore ; 
we also stripped the ship to the lower mast; this being 
done, we were about to repair the rigging and sails, when 
the monsoons made their appearance. 

These monsoons, so called, are the changing of the wind, 
which blows in one direction from March to September; 
then, shifting and whiffling about, blowing high gales, and 
sometimes a hurricane, commences a contrary direction, 
and so continues the remainder of the year, it being the 
time when the sun crosses the equator. Vessels generally, 
are afraid of being found at sea in this country, at this 
season. The wind at this time was very variable, blow- 
ing from different points and constituting a terrible gale, 
which lasted about forty-eight hours. Every precaution 
was taken for the safety of the vessels lying in the harbor; 
by mooring them by two anchors ahead, and two astern, 
according to the requirements of the law ; nevertheless, the 
shipping in the harbor, consisting of one hundred and 
fifty sail, French, Dutch, Danes, etc., but mostly Ameri- 
cans, presented a most unpleasant [lo] spectacle. Fifteen 
or twenty vessels of different sizes, were driven on shore, 
and some of them, when the water fell, were nearly high 
and dry. But few lives were lost; although there was 
a great destruction of property. The inhabitants of this 
island are very friendly to the American people, and an 
immense trade is carried on between the two countries. 
About fifty yards from the shore, stood a spacious build- 

1812-1819] Buttrick^s Voyages 27 

ing, occupied as a hospital, in which was a great number 
of patients. Directly on the bank is a small building, 
which is called a death house. When any one died in the 
hospital, they were removed and deposited in this small 
house, when they were placed in a coffin or box, large 
enough to contain two. If another was expected to 
die immediately, it remained until the second was 
placed in it; then being put into a boat manned by three 
negroes, expressly for that purpose, it was rowed down 
about two miles and a half, being that distance from 
any dwelling house, when the bodies were taken out of the 
coffin, hauled up on shore, and thrown into a lime pit, 
seemingly formed by nature. The boat then returns with 
the coffin, and here ends the funeral ceremonies. The 
dissolvent power of this earth, assisted by the rays of the 
sun, soon decomposes and destroys these bodies, and the 
remote distance from any dwelling houses, prevents any 
evil consequences, which might otherwise follow such a 
mode of burial. This boat is well known by the black 
flag, which it carries hoisted, and often passes three or 
four times in twenty four hours. 

The labor in this place is done by slaves, who are kept 
under close subjection. They are separated into gangs, 
over each of which is placed an overseer or driver. During 
the labor of the day, should any of them commit an 
offence, even of the smallest nature, it is marked down by 
this driver, and communicated to the principal overseer at 
evening. Early next morning, when called out to their 
usual labor, they are punished according to the aggrava- 
tion of the offence. If small, they are punished v^dth a 
rattan, on their naked backs. If guilty of an aggravated 
offence, they are lashed to a post, and so horribly whipped 
and mangled as at times to leave the bones denuded of 
their flesh, and in open view. -^ 

28 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 


Several times hearing the noise of cannon, and seeing a 
red flag hoisted, on inquiry I found that one or more 
negroes were to be executed. One day as this occurred, 
I went on shore and finding a number of people passing 
to a plain, back of the town, I followed on, and arriving 
at the place of execution, saw a rope drawn round a 
circle of about three hundred feet ; inside of which stood a 
platform about ten feet square, standing on posts five feet 
from the ground. On the top of this platform lay a com- 
mon plank, one end of which was raised about two feet, 
and extended even with the end of the platform. Here I 
waited for the space of half an hour, when, hearing the 
sound of music, and looking around, I saw a company of 
soldiers advancing. In the rear of them was a cart, with 
two young negroes in it, and a Roman Catholic priest 
following after. They coming within the circle, the com- 
pany formed, and the negroes were taken from the cart 
and conducted to the scaffold. The priest followed and 
conversed with them a short time, when a negro man 
mounted the scaffold, with a broad axe in one hand and 
a rope in the other. Looking very fierce, he ordered one 
to lay down on the plank, with his chin extended over 
the end. After lashing him tight to the plank with his 
rope, he raised his axe and with one stroke, severed his 
head from his body. Then unfastening the body he 
threw it down where the head had fallen. 

The other poor fellow, terrified and trembling at this aw- 
ful sight, and scarcely able to stand, was soon ordered to 
lie down in the same manner of the former, which he very 
reluctantly did, the plank being already covered with the 
blood of his fellow victim. The rope was then thrown 
around him, as before mentioned; the axe was again 
raised by this infernal butcher, with an apparent gratifica- 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 29 

tion and hardihood, shocking to human nature, and seem- 
ing to glut his revenge for the reluctance with which the 
criminal laid himself down on the plank. After several 
blows he at last succeeded in severing his head from his 

To paint this horrible scene in its true colors, the wild 
despair of the criminals, before their execution, and 
agony [12] afterwards, indicated by the thousand chan- 
ging motions of the face, and the shooting out of the tongue, 
is beyond the power of language to describe; their only 
crime was taking four dollars from a slave, sent by his 
master to some other person. 

In about three weeks after our arrival in this place, 
there appeared off this island, five English men of war, 
which had left here about six weeks before, for fear of 
the former gale. This squadron was for the purpose of 
blockading the island, and remained during our stay at 
this place. They were very diligent on their stations, but 
effected but little; they would often appear close in to the 
mouth of the harbor, but I never knew them fall in with an 
enemy. The war still existed between France and Great 
Britain, and several vessels and privateers were fitted out 
of this port, and would often send in valuable prizes; 
large ships laden with India and China goods, would be 
sent in unmolested, which was surprising to all who saw 
it. At one time an English sloop of war appeared in the 
mouth of the harbor; spying a twenty four pound gun 
about three fourths of a mile on shore, manned by five 
soldiers, they tried their skill by firing an eighteen pound 
shot at them, which hit the carriage, upset the gun and 
killed two of the men. The other three men fearing a 
second compliment, took to flight and made all possible 
speed for the town, where they arrived in great confusion. 
We now began to think it time for a cargo to come on 

3 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

board the Almonak. But soon found it to consist only 
of stone to ballast the ship. Being soon in readiness, on 
the first of August we put to sea, leaving this port for the 
island of Sumatra. 

On our passage we were several times boarded by 
English men of war ships, and after a strict examination 
were permitted to pass. We passed close to the island of 
Ceylon, an English island, and saw colors hoisted, but 
made no stop. On the first of September, we arrived on 
the western coast of Sumatra. As there were no regular 
maps or charts of this coast, we could only traverse it by 
information derived from masters of vessels, which had 
traded there, and our own judgment. There are many 
reefs and rocks, which extend into the sea a considerable 
distance. Many of which lay but just below the surface 
[13] of the water. It was therefore found necessary to 
keep a good look out, one man at mast head and others 
closely watching below. We at last discovered a small 
bay, and run into it ; the place was called Moco. This is 
one of the trading places. There are several others, such 
as Soosoo, Mecca, Bencooban, and Pecung. At the latter 
place, there was formerly a company of Dutch, who set- 
tled there for the purpose of trading with the natives. 
But in consequence of the English cruisers on the one side, 
and fear of the natives on the other, they had evacuated 
the place and returned to Batavia, from whence they came 
hither. We came to anchor in our first mentioned port, 
and prepared against any attack which might be made by 
these savages, by tricing up a boarding-netting round the 
ship, about fifteen feet above the deck. This netting was 
made of line, about the size of a cod line, and wove to- 
gether like a seine for taking fish; our guns were loaded 
and primed, with matches burning by the side, boarding 
pikes, muskets and cutlasses at hand, and a centinel walk- 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 31 

ing the deck. A gun was fired at sunrise and the colors 
hoisted; another at sunset when the colors were taken 
down. We had not been long at this place, before we 
were visited by several boats from the shore. They were 
ordered to haul close alongside of the ship; a gun was 
pointed into their boats, and a man to each gun with a 
lighted match in his hand. Should they attempt to rise 
we were in readiness to receive them, and soon put a stop 
to their proceedings. 

They then asked permission to come on board ; this was 
granted to three or four of them. A gun was then hauled 
back, and they allowed to crawl in at the port hole, while 
the rest remained as they were. Some of them spoke 
good English, and began to inquire if we wanted pepper. 
We answered, yes. The captain agreed with them about 
the price, and in a few days we \^re furnished with about 
fifteen tons. The natives brought the pepper in their 
own boats, and it was weighed on board of the ship, with 
our weights and scales, which we brought for that pur- 
pose. They were very particular in examining them, and 
fearful of being defrauded. 

One man, whom we supposed was their clerk, took the 
weight of each draft, and at the close footed it up, and [14] 
cast the amount in dollars, as quick and as well as though 
he had been a regular bred merchant. They write fast, 
but from right to left. While here the captain was invited 
on shore, and went in a boat with four men ; each armed 
with a cutlass. Three were left to guard the boat. Tak- 
ing me with him we proceeded towards the village, which 
is about half a mile from shore, escorted by some of the 
chiefs through a narrow path, and thick wood of Bamboo 
and Cocoa nut. On our way, we could often see the 
heads of the inhabitants peeping from behind the trees, 
or through the bushes, but would often start and run 

3 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

when we approached them. On coming to the village 
we found a cluster of small houses, situated but a little 
distance from each other, standing on six or eight posts, 
and about three feet from the ground, being built similar 
to log houses in America. The tops of these houses were 
covered with bark and leaves, and were sufficiently tight to 
prevent the water from penetrating through them. I 
learned that there were about four hundred inhabitants 
in this village. 

There were many men and boys to be seen about among 
these huts; but not one female. They show few marks of 
industry, a few only being employed in making sails for 
boats, from a kind of bark, which they work together 
very ingeniously. I saw no implement of husbandry, nor 
any household furniture, excepting a few kettles, standing 
about the doors of their log huts. These people are of a 
copper color, small in size, seldom weighing more than 
one hundred pounds; their food consists principally of 
fruit, rice and fish. They are indolent, but subtle and 
full of intrigue; they speak a Malay dialect, and are by 
persuasion Mahometans. They consider it their duty to 
take the life of a Christian; they are very avaricious, and 
seek every opportunity of obtaining money; Spanish dol- 
lars is the only coin they will receive, and which they ob- 
tain in large sums for their pepper, which grows in great 
abundance on this island. It is difficult to know what 
they do with their silver, as their expenditures must be 
small, their clothing generally consisting of a small cloth 
round their waist, extending down to their knees. Some 
of the higher order wear a mantle over their shoulders 
extending nearly [15] to their feet, with a small piece of 
cloth neatly worked, covering the top part of the head ; a 
belt around their waist with a long knife or creese in it, 
the blade of which is very ordinary, but sharp ; the handle 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 33 

is generally made of silver, but sometimes of gold and 
worked in a curious manner; these except the handles are 
purchased of foreigners. Opium, although prohibited, is 
obtained and used to excess by the natives in this island. 
They chew and smoke it frequently to intoxication, and 
substitute it for ardent spirit, which they make no use of. 
Instead of tobacco they have a kind of reddish weed, 
which they mix up with something resembling white paint, 
stirring it with their thumb and finger, and crowding it 
into their mouths in the most disgusting manner. They 
have no fire arms, not knowing the use of powder; but are 
very expert with their knives. When meeting each other, 
instead of shaking hands in the American way, they 
salute each other by striking their knives together. They 
are in separate tribes; each is governed by a rajah or 
king, whose commands are implicitly obeyed. At the sale 
or purchase of any goods, he must first be consulted, and 
permission granted, and a certain part of all monies re- 
ceived are paid to him. Polygamy is allowed; the num- 
ber of wives a man has, depends on his ability to main- 
tain them. They are considered as personal property, 
and are bought and sold at pleasure . ^ 

After purchasing all the pepper that could be procured 
in this place, we weighed anchor and stood along the 
coast, about thirty miles. When about one mile off land, 
we espied a number of natives on shore, and let go anchor. 
They coming out in boats, we treated them in the same 
manner as we had done those before mentioned. The 
reason of our using so much precaution, was, information 
that several vessels had been taken by the natives and 
their crews massacred. Finding no pepper at this place, 

' This description of the natives is given as they were found in 1805. How 
far they have since become confonned to civilized life, the author is unable to 
say. — BuTTMCK. 

34 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

and being told that by going about twenty-five miles 
further up we could procure a plentiful supply, we weighed 
anchor and proceeded to the place pointed out by the 
natives. When we arrived we found that information 
[i6] had been given, and preparations made for procur- 
ing all the pepper that could be obtained. Loaded boats 
came out, which we received for several days; the pepper 
was weighed off and paid for to the owners and all things 
appeared to go on well. This looked encouraging, and we 
expected soon to have a full cargo, they repeatedly say- 
ing we should have greater quantities by waiting a short 
time longer. We knew not their object at the time, but 
afterwards had reason to suspect their intentions. How- 
ever, after waiting several days and receiving no more 
supplies, we passed up thirty or forty miles further. Here 
it appearing like a favorable place, we dropped anchor 
about five o'clock in the evening, two miles from the 
shore. It was calm, and the evening was pleasant. About 
eleven o'clock at night, we heard the oars of several boats 
coming. By the light of the moon we soon discovered 
them to be three in number, one with about twenty-five 
men and the others with about fifteen men each. I be- 
ing on deck, notified the captain below, who immediately 
came up and hailed them; they answered and asked if 
we wanted pepper; our answer was yes. Coming along 
side, they were placed as before mentioned. All appeared 
very desirous of coming on board, but only three were 
permitted. As they came in at the port hole, we took 
from each his creese or knife. This appeared not to 
please them. At this time they were uncommonly merry, 
looking earnestly about on every thing on deck, which 
could be plainly discerned from the light of the moon. 
The captain says to them, how much pepper have you ? 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 35 

they answered, we have none here but will bring you some 
bye and bye. 

One of them walking down into the cabin, the captain 
ordered me to follow him. The second mate lay in his 
berth asleep ; he looked at him very earnestly and laughed ; 
there were two lamps burning on the table, he took one 
and blew it out, then looking at the mate again he laughed ; 
lit the lamp, sat it down. He soon blew it out the second 
time ; mistrusting his objects, I seized him by the shoulder 
and soon had him on deck, and notified the captain, when 
all hands were immediately called. The natives in the 
boat appeared very uneasy, some standing upright, others 
were puking over the side; this [17] was enough to tell us 
that they were intoxicated from the too free use of opium. 
As they had no pepper, and coming in such a number, 
their intention undoubtedly was to take the ship, and 
after massacreing the crew to plunder her. But seeing 
us so well guarded, they thought it not best to make an 
attack, although they were three times our number. 

The captain then ordered these three to go immediately 
into their boats, with orders to steer straight from the 
ship's side and not to vary either to the right or left, for 
should they disobey, they would receive the contents of our 
guns among their boats. They obeyed, although with 
great reluctance, which to us was a certain proof of their 
ill intentions. 

Although these men are small in stature, and possess 
but little muscular strength, yet when intoxicated they are 
savage, cruel and fearless as mad dogs. The next morn- 
ing we stood along the shore for several miles, and were 
met by some Indian canoes. We then came to anchor, 
went on shore and purchased a large quantity of pepper, 
which was brought on board, weighed and paid for. We 

36 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

remained here several days, during which time some of 
our crew saw and recognized some of the same persons 
who made us the evening visit which I have already men- 
tioned. They discovered no hostile intentions at this time. 
We continued along the coast, stopping at different places, 
until we had about completed our cargo, without any 
damage except the loss of two anchors, and narrowly 
escaping the rocks, which came nearly to the top of the 
water. We were fortunate enough to procure another 
anchor of a ship, which had just arrived on the coast. A 
few days before we left the island, we fell in with an 
Enghsh brig, which came there for the purpose of trading 
with the natives, but unarmed. He came to anchor near 
us, and observed that he wished to lie under the cover of 
our guns, while we remained here, observing that the day 
before, he saw a sail standing in, having the appearance 
of a French privateer, and should that be the case, he 
should probably fall into their hands, and lose his all, as 
this vessel and cargo was all the property which he pos- 

[18] He also told the captain of the Almonak, that he 
had a number of curiosities on board, which he would 
present to him for his acceptance; among which was a 
creature called the ourang-outang ; he was taken at the 
island of Borneo, and is a great curiosity, even in India. 
When walking upright, this creature was about four feet 
high, his head resembling that of a young negro child. 
This creature moved with ease, was good natured to white 
people, would often put his arm around the sailors' necks 
and walk fore and aft the deck with them; but towards 
negroes he appeared to have an inveterate hatred. Our 
cook was a large black fellow, and when employed in any 
particular business, especially that of stooping, this crea- 
ture would come behind him and clinch and bite him 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 37 

most severely ; and in a very few minutes would be at the 
top-mast head, looking down and seemingly laughing, as 
though he had gained some important victory; while the 
poor cook was left to rub his wounds without being able 
to obtain any further satisfaction. The English brig be- 
ing manned by Lascar sailors, which are black, the cap- 
tain said that in a gale of wind he always felt himself un- 
safe to send them aloft in the night, as the ourang-outang 
would often follow them, and take every advantage to 
bite and harass them. We kept this creature till we had 
been at sea about fifteen days on our home-bound passage, 
and were in hopes of presenting one of the greatest curi- 
osities ever seen in America. But to our grief one morn- 
ing he came from aloft on deck, made some signs of sick- 
ness, laid down and died instantly. An unfortunate 
Dutch sailor, who twenty-five years before had been im- 
pressed into the English service, had lately made his 
escape and got on board the brig I have mentioned. 
Wishing to return to Holland, his native country, we took 
him on board our ship, and, although many times boarded 
by English men of war and strictly searched, he secreted 
himself so closely that he remained undiscovered until we 
conveyed him safely on board one of his own country 
ships. The poor fellow often said, "I am afraid I shall 
find none of my relations or friends left, after so long an 
absence. ' ' 

We now took leave of our English friends, and com- 
pleting our cargo, on the last of October, after a stay of 
[19] two months on this coast, we weighed anchor and 
stood out to sea, bound to the Isle of France, where we 
arrived on the first of December. Remaining there three 
weeks, we again put to sea, and in fifteen days came in 
sight of the Cape of Good Hope. Falling about ten miles 
to the leeward, we bore up with a fair and brisk wind, just 

3 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

passing round the point of the Cape, when it became an 
entire calm. This was worse than a gale; the sea running 
very high, the ship rolled from side to side, and oftentimes 
would almost roll her yards into the water. Oftentimes 
we thought she would upset or her mast go overboard. 
After remaining in this situation about two hours, a breeze 
sprung up which enabled us to pursue our course, and 
which continued until we arrived near the coast of the 
United States of America. One afternoon, about four 
o'clock, saw a schooner ahead; coming near to her, she 
lowered all sail. We hailed her, and asked if any thing 
was wanted ; and were answered, as we thought, no. We 
hailed the second time, and received the same answer; 
understanding that they wanted nothing. One of the 
crew thought she said differently, when, on a third in- 
quiry, found they were an American vessel, had neither 
bread, meat, or lights, and were in a state of complete 
starvation. Several of them had become so weak as to 
lash themselves to the rigging for safety. We supplied 
them with all the necessaries we could possibly spare, be- 
ing short ourselves, but sufficient as we supposed to take 
them to New London, Connecticut, their intended port. 
They had been out sixty-seven days from the Spanish 
main, in South America, and for the five last days had 
nothing to eat except a few crumbs of biscuit which they 
had collected together. On the morning of the day on 
which we expected to see land, the weather being cloudy, 
about eight o'clock, breakers were discovered a-head, and 
the water striking high into the air. Put the ship about, 
and running but a short time the same was seen still a-head ; 
the water seeming muddy, hove the lead, and found ten 
fathom water. We ran this course but a little distance 
before we found ourselves surrounded with breakers on 
all sides. The wind being fresh and a heavy sea, we were 

i8i 2-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 39 

constantly throwing the lead, and found sometimes [20] 
twenty fathom water, sometimes ten; about one o'clock, 
finding but five fathom, which is thirty feet, expect- 
ing every minute the ship would strike to the bottom, 
the captain ordered axes to be brought, and every man to 
take care of himself. Our boats being much worm-eaten 
could be of no use to us should the ship strike; therefore 
the only way would be to cut away the masts. The fog 
continuing there could be no observation taken, and no 
one knowing where we were, nothing could be done but 
to direct our course as well as we could to avoid these 
difiiculties. At eight o'clock in the evening we found a 
sufficient depth of water, and on examination found it to 
be Nantucket South shoals; the wind then being fair, in 
the middle of April, eighteen hundred and six, we arrived 
in the port of Boston. 

I remained in Boston until the middle of June follow- 
ing, when I agreed with a gentleman to go to Liverpool on 
board a new ship then lying in Kennebeck river. On my 
arrival at that place, finding neither owner nor captain, and 
the ship being but partly laden, I waited for several days, 
and then shipped on board the schooner Decatur, an old 
vessel of one hundred tons burthen. She lay alongside of 
the wharf, and so heavily laden with lumber as to cause 
her decks to be under water. Our crew consisted of only 
six in number; no more could be obtained. The captain 
offering us the extra pay of one deficient hand to be 
divided among us, we accepted, and on the third day of 
July put to sea. We immediately found we had sufficient 
employment ; only three hands before the mast, one hand at 
the helm, one at the pump, and the other not wanting for 
employment. We soon began to repent of our bargain, but 
there was no help for it. We were bound for Montego 
Bay, north side of the island of Jamaica; which passage 

40 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

we performed in forty days. We made the islands of St. 
Domingo and Cuba, and were boarded by an English 
fifty gun ship, Arethusa, who sent their boat and ordered 
the captain and all hands on board, which was done, 
while they manned the schooner. After arriving on 
board many questions were asked us separately; where 
we were from, what our cargo consisted of, if we were not 
Englishmen, and if we should not like to enlist on board 
his [21] majesty's ship. Our answer being in the nega- 
tive, wine was brought forward and we were invited to 
drink. This not answering their wishes, we were ordered 
below, where we remained until eight o'clock next morn- 
ing; during which time we had neither wine nor food to 
eat. We were then called up and returned on board our 
schooner, their men returning and leaving us at our liberty. 
On examining our effects, found my chest and trunk 
pillaged of most of their contents. These articles were 
not contraband, and could not be taken by any officer, 
but were pillaged by the crew. We soon made the best 
of our way on the passage, and arrived at Montego Bay 
after a passage of forty days. We lay here three weeks, 
in which time we discharged our cargo and took in another. 
I had many generous offers in this place to take charge of 
a store, and tried every possible means to get discharged 
from the schooner, but to no effect ; the captain observing 
that he could discharge no man. We then weighed 
anchor, and laid our course once more for the United 
States of America. We ran close by the port of Havana, 
made Turks Island, and after being out but a few days, 
found our meat and bread in a bad condition; sometimes 
so bad it could not be considered safe to eat it. This 
evil could not be remedied through the whole passage; 
this, together with bad weather, squalls and head winds, 
seemed sometimes as though we should never reach our 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 41 

native homes: however, in about forty days we arrived in 
Boston bay. Within one mile of Cape Cod, about eight 
o'clock in the evening, I was standing on deck, with a fine 
southerly breeze, anticipating the pleasure we should en- 
joy on being in Boston the next evening, when in an in- 
stant a squall struck us a-head, which carried away our 
foretopmast and main boom, and left our sails in rags. 
Fortunately no man was hurt, although our captain was 
saved from being knocked overboard by catching hold of 
the main rigging. This squall continued only for a 
minute, when all was calm again. The only business 
now was to repair, which we so effectually did before day- 
light as to be able to make sail, and soon arrived in Boston 
harbour, greatly rejoiced at being able once more to leave 
old Neptune, bad beef and wormy bread, and visit my 
friends [22] on terra firma. I then went to Concord, 
Massachusetts, and made up my mind to leave the seas 
for the present. 

Wishing to see the Western country, I made an arrange- 
ment with a gentleman to go to Detroit, Michigan Terri- 
tory, and to take out his family, consisting of his wife, 
three children and a man-servant ; which he was desirous 
of removing to that country. Himself having business, 
went on horseback several days before we started. I pur- 
chased two horses and a pleasure wagon, and proceeded 
to Alb any ^ in New York, and passing through many hand- 

' For a description of Albany written a few years later, see Evans's Tour, post. 

Buttrick followed the Genesee Road, the well-established route to Lake 
Erie. In 1794 the legislature had appropriated money for the construction 
of a road six rods wide from old Fort Schuyler (Utica) to the Genesee River 
at Canawagus (Avon, twenty-seven miles south of Lake Ontario), passing the 
outlets of Ca3aiga, Seneca, and Canandaigua lakes. Being but little better than 
an Indian path in 1797, lotteries were authorized for its improvement. In 
1799 a stage began to run over the road, and the following year it was made 
into a turnpike. A highway was opened the same year from the Genesee 
River to Buffalo, thus completing the connection between Albany and Lake 
Erie. — Ed. 

42 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

some villages, such as Utica, Bloomfield, Canandaigua,' 
Batavia, &c., came to Buffalo/ at the foot of Lake Erie, 
where we met the gentleman waiting to receive his family, 
which he was going to put on board of a vessel and go up 
the lake. But preferring myself to go by land, I crossed 
the Niagara river into Canada; it being but three hundred 
miles to Detroit on that shore, while it is four hundred on 
the United States shore, and a much worse road. I went 
to a friend's house, formerly from Concord, who lived 
about nine miles from this place. This friend wishing to 
go on the journey with me, we began to make prepara- 
tions; however, as I was a stranger in that country, he 

^ Old Fort Schuyler was erected upon the present site of Utica during the 
French and Indian War (1758), for the defense of the frontier, but was not 
maintained after the Treaty of Paris. The village was first settled in 1787-88, 
its importance dating from the construction of the Genesee or State Road. It 
obtained a city charter in 1832. 

The site of Canandaigua, at the foot of Canandaigua Lake, was selected 
by OUver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham for the principal town of their pur- 
chase; they and a company of associates having bought from Massachusetts 
(1788) her pre-emption rights to land in New York — namely, to all territory 
west of a line drawn through Seneca Lake. The village was surveyed and 
opened for settlement in 1789, and the following year contained eighteen fam- 
ilies and a hundred other persons. 

Bloomfield, the location of an old Seneca village, is nine miles northwest 
of Canandaigua, and was surveyed and settled at the same time, chiefly by 
emigrants from Shefl&eld, Mass. — Ed. 

* Batavia bore the same relation to the Holland Purchase that Canandaigua 
bore to that of Phelps and Gorham. These proprietors extinguished the Indian 
title to their land only as far, approximately, as the Genesee River. Being 
unable to pay for the remainder, they returned it to Massachusetts (March, 
1 791), which, two days later, resold it to Robert Morris. He, in turn, sold to a 
company of associates in Amsterdam (1793), and the tract became known as 
the Holland Purchase. The Holland Company marked off a village and opened 
a land office (October, 1800) at Batavia, in an unsettled wilderness fifty miles 
west of Canandaigua. Two years later they surveyed and placed upon the 
market a second village, called by them New Amsterdam, and located at the 
mouth of Buffalo Creek. This stream being well known on the frontier, the 
name was transferred to the settlement, and "New Amsterdam" never came 
into general use. Bufifalo received a charter in 1813. See Turner, History 
0] the Holland. Purchase (Buffalo, 1850). — Ed. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 43 

wished me to visit the Falls of Niagara, thirty-eight miles 
below. After notifying the before mentioned gentleman, 
we proceeded on and saw the stupendous work of nature, 
which has so often and so accurately been described by 
other travelers as to need no description from me. 

After spending three days in this neighbourhood, we re- 
turned to my friend's house. The vessel which was to 
carry the gentleman's family was expecting to sail in a 
few days, and I intended to start as soon. But a day or 
two before we were ready to proceed, standing at my 
friend's door, we saw a gentleman riding up in great haste, 
who informed us that war had taken place between the 
United States and Great Britian, This was sorrowful 
news indeed to me ; and my only remedy was, if possible, 
to make my way back into the United States. Accord- 
ingly I harnessed my horses to the waggon, and drove with 
all possible speed down to the ferry and called for the 
boat ; but judge of my surprise and sorrow, when, instead 
of the ferryman handling their oars, I was accosted [23] 
by sentinels walking with their guns, who said they had 
strict orders to forbid any one crossing over. I stood 
some time looking to the opposite shore, which was about 
one mile, and could see the same business going on. I 
then returned in haste ; was advised to take my horses into 
the woods and secrete them, which I did. Finding our- 
selves destitute of many articles which we wanted, such 
as tea, sugar, tobacco, &c., and not being able to procure 
them on this side, as there were no stores on the Canada 
side where they were kept, we resolved to make an ad- 
venture upon the other side. Accordingly when night 
came on, we fitted out a boat with four men with oars, and 
sent them to accomplish our object. They had eighteen 
miles to cross the lake, which was performed before day- 
light. The next morning, unperceived by any one ex- 

44 Fjarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

cept the storekeeper, who was always ready to supply the 
wants of any one when he was sure of cash in return, the 
boat was hauled into the bushes, and the men secreted 
during the day. In the meantime the articles wanted were 
put up and at night put on board, when the boat was 
shoved ofif, and they steered their course directly back 
again. Owing to the darkness of the night they steered 
too much up the lake, and at daylight found they were 
about six miles from shore. They pulled very hard, but 
did not arrive until after sunrise. Fearing they might be 
discovered from Fort Erie,^ they carried their goods up 
into the bushes and hauled the boat after them, when they 
came up to a house a little distance from their landing, 
and went about their daily employment. About two 
hours afterwards a non-commissioned officer, whom we 
found to be a serjeant, and four men belonging to the 
cavalry, rode up to the door, armed and in British uni- 
form, and demanded if there had been a boat across the 
lake to this place. The answer was no. They then dis- 
mounted, and walking in, began to search in and about 
the house, but found nothing. Observing their disap- 
pointment, we took pity on them, invited them in, and 
gave theni some spirits to drink. The morning was 
warm, and after drinking several times, they concluded 
that all was as it should be, and returned to their station. 
I remained here several days, and began to grow quite dis- 
contented with my [24] present prospects ; I therefore con- 

' Old Fort Erie, at the head of Niagara River, on its western bank, was 
built by the English in 1764. The location proving unsatisfactory, a new fort 
farther back from the river was begun in 1805, and completed at the outbreak 
of the War of 1812-15. This was captured by the Americans, July 3, 1814. 
Although successfully resisting the siege of the British during August follow- 
ing, the fort was blown up in September and the troops retired to Buffalo. It 
was never rebuilt. — Ed. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 45 

eluded to call on General Brock," the Commander-in- 
chief of the Province of Upper Canada, and solicit his aid. 
His head-quarters were at Fort George,'' forty-seven miles 
below, near the head of Lake Ontario. The second day 
of July I started with a horse and gig, went to Chippewa 
and stayed over night. Next morning, wishing to know 
my fate, I proceeded on till within about one mile of the 
Fort, when ascending a hill, I fell in the rear of five hun- 
dred Indians, who were marching in Indian file, painted, 
and in their war dress. Not wishing to interrupt them 
at this critical time, I moved slowly after them until I had 
an opportunity of passing them without molestation to 
either party. They walked with their faces down, and 
paid no attention to any one. On coming on to the plain 
near the Fort, I discovered warlike preparations; flying 
artillery, cavalry and foot, not in great numbers, but ex- 
ercising and preparing for an attack. The American 
Fort Niagara,* and the English Fort George, lie nearly 
opposite, one mile distant from each other, and on the 

• General Isaac Brock, born in Guernsey in 1760, entered the English army, 
and after serving in Jamaica and Barbados, came to Canada in 1802. He 
was placed in command at Fort Niagara, and in 181 1 was appointed lieuten- 
ant-governor of Upper Canada. Immediately upon the outbreak of the War 
of 181 2-15, he ordered an attack upon Mackinac, and marched with the main 
body of his troops to Detroit, receiving Hull's surrender in August, 1812. 
Brock planned a most efficient defense of Upper Canada, but was killed in the 
American attack on Queenstown (October, 1812). Perhaps no English ofl&cer 
has been more beloved by the people of Upper Canada; several towns have 
been named in his honor, and a monument was erected to him on Queenstown 
Heights. — Ed. 

' When the English withdrew from Fort Niagara, in accordance with the 
provisions of Jay's Treaty, they constructed this fort directly across the river. 
It was captured by the Americans (May 27, 1813), but abandoned at the end 
of the year. After the War of 1812-15 it was dismantled and allowed to fall 
into decay. — Ed. 

' For the early history of Fort Niagara, see Long's Voyages, volume ii of 
our series, note 19. — Ed. 

46 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

opposite sides of the Niagara river; they were each under 
fearful apprehensions. I rode up to the General's house 
and inquired for him, and was conducted to the garden. 
I walked up to him and made known my business, and 
my anxious desire of crossing the river with my property. 
He politely replied, he had no objection to granting my 
request, provided the officers of the United States would 
grant the same indulgence to his Majesty's subjects; but 
until then he could give me no permit. After many ques- 
tions, to which he received my answers, he said I should 
see him at Fort Erie the next forenoon, which I did, about 
ten o'clock. While conversing with him this morning, a 
cannon was discharged at Black Rock,^ two miles below, 
which at this time had become fortified by the United 
States; he started, and said, ''I must consider you as a 
prisoner of war, and unless you can procure bonds of 
fifty thousand dollars to remain within this Province, you 
must immediately be committed to prison." My friend 
accidentally standing by at this time, passed his word for 
me, which was sufficient, and I was set at liberty. The 
cause of this discharge from the cannon, and many others 
which followed, was the celebration of the fourth of July, 
it being that day of the month. 

[25] I remained under this bond seventeen days, but 
was allowed to go where I chose without molestation. 
Waggons were daily coming in from the back woods loaded 
with men, women and children, many of whom were in a 
very distressed situation; they begged for permission to 

• The Black Rock ferry across the Niagara River was in existence as early 
as 1796, and was much used for transporting merchandise, especially salt. It 
owed its name to the low black rock about a hundred feet broad, from which 
teams entered the ferry. Passing into the control of the state in 1802, the 
ferry continued to run until 1824, when the harbor was destroyed and the black 
rock blown up in the construction of the Erie Canal. The village of Black 
Rock was laid out in 1804, but grew very slowly, and in 1853 was incorporated 
in the city of Buffalo. — Ed. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 47 

cross to the United States, many of whom were formerly 
from there ; but instead of this request being granted, many 
of the men were made soldiers, and their horses taken 
and employed in the service of government. Bad as this 
may seem, yet it was far preferable to remaining in the 
woods among the savages, who assumed the right of plun- 
dering whatever came in their way. These people were 
truly in a bad situation, for they were neither safe at home, 
nor on the frontiers, as the soldiers were few and provis- 
ions scarce. As for my part, I was allowed to go where 
I pleased ; and oftentimes fell in company with the officers, 
who treated me very politely. On the seventeenth day of 
my bondage, while at my lodgings, I received a line from 
an officer, ordering me to appear at Fort Erie; which I 
did. I was then conducted two miles below, to the ferry, 
where a boat was prepared, and I was ordered to go on 
board, and soon arrived on the United States' shore. 
When I first received this order, suspecting what would 
take place, took my friend aside, told him I knew that a 
gentleman in Buffalo had petitioned General Brock for 
my release, and thought it possible this would take 
place, and should I not return that day, he might be 
assured that I was at liberty; and that I wished him at 
night to build a large fire on the lake shore, and have my 
horses and carriage ready if I should call. 

My object now was to get a boat sufficiently large to 
carry two horses and a waggon. I was told that I could 
obtain one by going eighteen miles up the lake. I im- 
mediately hired a horse, and went to the place, but found 
the boat was gone twelve miles further up. I passed on, 
and when I arrived there, found the boat had gone still 
further up, and was obliged to give over the pursuit. 
This being the only suitable boat in the vicinity, and not 
being able to obtain that, I began almost to despair of 

48 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

ever getting my horses across to the United States' shore. 
When night came on, I could plainly discern the light [26] 
which my friend had kindled on the opposite shore ; which 
was for a mark for me to steer by, had I found a boat; 
and although I was determined to run every risk, and 
venture all hazards, to cross, and get my property on board ; 
yet I was obliged to relinquish all hope, and had the mor- 
tification to see all my attempts frustrated. I therefore 
returned back to Buffalo, purchased a horse and gig, and 
returned home to Massachusetts. 

I remained at home till the third of July, eighteen hun- 
dred and fourteen, when a gentleman, who was going to 
Kentucky, wished me to accompany him. I took a horse 
and waggon, and we set out on our journey; pursuing the 
same route which I formerly took, to Batavia, in the western 
part of New York. Our intention was to go by land to 
Cincinnati, at the south-western part of Ohio, where we 
should meet the Ohio river. But falling in with a gentle- 
man who observed that he was well acquainted with all that 
part of the country, and who advised us to steer southerly 
to the head of Alleghany river, the distance being but 
about forty-five miles, where we should find a pleasant 
water carriage the remaining part of our journey; we 
agreed with him, and sold him my waggon and harness, 
as there was no road for wheels a part of this route, pur- 
chased provision, and packed all our effects on to the 
horse, and set out on foot, driving our horse before us. 
We travelled on two days, seldom seeing any house, having 
very bad roads, such as by many people would be con- 
sidered no road at all. We stopped at night at a log hut, 
found the people more friendly than intelligent; inquired 
how far we had come, and were informed we had trav- 
elled forty miles, and had forty miles further to go. We 
were greatly disappointed and mortified at our informer's 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 49 

account of this route, especially as provision was very 
scarce both for man and beast. However, the next morn- 
ing we continued on our journey till about twelve o'clock, 
when we stopped at a log hut. There had been several 
acres of land cleared, and we noticed a very tall hemlock- 
tree at the farther end of this clearing, and a man chop- 
ping it down. , It being of an extraordinary size, we 
thought we would go to the root and see it fall. The 
man who was chopping observed, it would be some time 
before it [27] would fall; and my friend walked away to 
some little distance. I remained a few minutes, and then 
followed him. When I had proceeded about half of the 
length of the tree I heard a cracking noise, and looking 
back, I saw the tree coming directly upon me. There 
was no chance of escaping; I therefore clung my arms to 
me and partly sat down; the tree fell, the body touching 
my left shoulder, and a large limb my right. I was com- 
pletely covered with the limbs and leaves, but without the 
slightest injury. I soon cleared myself of this uncouth 
situation, and looked on my narrow escape with surprise; 
the other two men stood motionless with fear. We soon 
pursued our journey; and the next day, about four o'clock 
in the afternoon, were overtaken by a boy, who observed 
he was travelling our way about one mile and a half, 
when he said we should come to a tavern. This 
was joyful news to us, as our provision was almost ex- 
hausted, and we had but few chances of renewing it. The 
clouds had been gathering fast, and there was an appear- 
ance of rain; in a few minutes the wind began to blow 
violently, the limbs of trees were falling on all sides, and 
large trees were blown up by the roots; we could scarcely 
escape the danger of one, before another presented itself. 
The cracking and falling of the trees was terrible, not 
only to the hearing, but the sight also. I jumped from 

50 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

tree to tree, not knowing which way or direction was 
most safe. Heavy thunder, sharp hghtning, and the 
rain falling in torrents, made the scene doubly terrible, 
and seemingly, nothing but death awaited us every mo- 
ment. This gale continued about twenty minutes, when 
the wind ceased, and all was still. My first object was to 
find my companions and horse, if still alive. I had not 
seen them since the commencement of the gale. I called 
aloud, sometimes by name, at other times halloo, but no 
answer being made, this gave me reason to believe that 
all was lost. After renewing my calls for some time, I 
heard a voice and followed it; found it to [be] my com- 
panion, and soon after the little boy came up. Our next 
search was for the horse, which we found about one hun- 
dred yards from where we stood, standing still among the 
fallen trees, stripped of every thing except the bridle on 
his head. We made him fast, then [28] went in search of 
the baggage, which we found, at considerable distance 
from him, almost buried in the mud. Placing it on the 
horse's back once more, we related our danger to each 
other, and proceeded on our way, when we soon arrived 
at the tavern which the boy had mentioned. 

This tavern was an old log building of about twenty feet 
square, and contained the landlord, his wife, and six chil- 
dren. Here we found some pork, a small quantity of 
bread, and some whiskey, but no food for our horse. 
This was the greatest accommodation we had found since 
leaving Batavia. Finding a man who was going on to the 
end of our land voyage, about seven miles, we left the 
boy, and about one hour before sunset, we pursued our 
course. The mud and fallen trees very much retarded our 
progress; but notwithstanding our wading in water, blun- 
dering over trees and stumps, &c., at ten o'clock we 
arrived at the Alleghany river. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 51 

The next morning we met with three soldiers who had 
purchased a canoe, and were bound down the river; we 
made an arrangement with them, paid one-half for the 
boat, sold my horse, and began to prepare for a trip down 
the river. We endeavoured to purchase provision, but 
could not obtain it for money. Having a blanket, I 
traded with a good lady for a few pounds of bread and 
pork. The truth is, the land about this place is so poor, 
the few inhabitants who are settled here have no resources 
only from the country, back a considerable distance; and 
hence they may be called real speculators on travellers, 
who happen to take this course for the Ohio river. Our 
company, now consisting of five in number, embarked on 
board this about three o'clock in the afternoon, and at 
sunset we came to a sandy beach, hauled our boat ashore, 
and concluded to remain here during the night. We 
built us a fire, cooked some provision, and encamped for 
the night. The weather being warm, we made but little 
provision against the cold ; about one o'clock I awoke, and 
found myself very chilly. The rest being all asleep, I 
got up, and found I had been lying in water about two 
inches deep. Mustering all hands we went further up 
on to the shore, drawing our boat after us, built a fire, got 
warm and partly dried [29] when daylight appeared. Each 
one now taking a piece of bread in one hand and a piece 
of pork in the other, made a hearty breakfast ; after which 
we took to our oars and continued on our course. The 
river being very low at this season of the year, made the 
navigation of our boat, although small, very difficult. 
Sometimes, for a long distance, we would row in almost 
still water, then coming to rapids, we were urged on with 
great velocity among rocks and trees, which had lodged 
among them. One of the soldiers being acquainted with 
this river, rendered our situation much safer, as he served 

5 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

as our conductor; otherwise we should hardly have dared 
to run the venture. The log houses on this river were 
few in number, and from the poorness of the land, and 
the then existing war, the inhabitants were left destitute 
almost of the necessaries of life for themselves, much 
more so for travellers. Deer, bears, and other small game 
being plenty, their principal dependence was on these for 
sustenance. The fourth day of our voyage, in the after- 
noon, we discovered a house on the bank of the river. We 
pulled ashore, went up and requested to stay over night. 
Our request was granted, and we had plenty of venison, 
and fed to our full satisfaction. The man observed he 
had just killed a fine buck, and was glad to entertain all 
strangers. We remained here during the night, leaving 
what little provision we had in a knapsack on board the 
boat, which we hauled on the bank, thinking all would be 
secure. Next morning went down, and found all safe ex- 
cept the provision, which had been carried off in the night 
by some dogs, their footsteps being plainly to be seen. 
We mentioned this to the man of the house, who observed 
he was very sorry for our misfortune, especially as it must 
be his own dogs, he keeping a pack of hounds. There 
was no remedy however for this accident; we therefore 
made ourselves contented, he saying that he would fur- 
nish us with every thing in his power, which was but little ; 
and for this little he was careful to charge us an exorbi- 
tant price. He however entertained us with many amus- 
ing stories of his great feats in hunting, particularly his 
great success in killing catamounts, which are numerous 
about the Alleghany mountains. He led a horse up to 
the door, sounded a horn, [30] and immediately the beast 
was surrounded by twenty or thirty dogs, barking, howl- 
ing, and jumping almost into the poor animal's mouth, 
which stood with great patience, and seemed not to notice 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 53 

them. This, said the man, is my pleasure and support, 
and what I would not exchange for all the luxury of an 
eastern city. Pleased with this history, we took to our 
oars, pushed on, working hard during the day, camping 
on the shore during the night, with short provision till 
the eighth day, when we came within thirty miles of 
Pittsburg. Being tired of these waters, we sold our boat, 
and proceeded on by land. Here we came to a plentiful 
part of the country, and the next day we arrived at Pitts- 
burg,*" at the head of Ohio river, three hundred miles 
from where we first took water. We staid here one day, 
then parted with the three soldiers, and took passage in a 
keel boat bound down the river. On board of this boat 
we had every accommodation we could wish. Forty of 
the passengers, besides twelve of the boat's crew, stopped 
at Wheeling, a pleasant town in Virginia, and then pro- 
ceeded on to Marietta, at the mouth of the Muskingum 
river, and so on to Cincinnati, Ohio. Here we went on 
board a flat-bottomed boat, and proceeded to Louisville, 
Kentucky, at the falls of the Ohio river, seven hundred 
miles below Pittsburg. I tarried at this place several days, 
then purchased me a horse, saddle and bridle, parted with 
my old friend, who had found his brother and wished to 
remain, started for the eastern States, passed through 
Frankfort, the seat of government in Kentucky, and came 
on to Cincinnati in Ohio. 

Here I met three gentlemen who were travelling on to 
the head of the Alleghany river; their company was very 
acceptable to me, as I was a stranger through that wilder- 
ness country. The day after we commenced our journey 

'" For notes on the places mentioned in this paragraph, see A. Michaux's Trav- 
els, volume iii of our series: Pittsburg, note ii; Wheeling, note 15; Marietta, 
note 16; Cuming's Tour, volume iv of our series: Cincinnati, note 166; Croghan's 
Journals, volume i of our series: Louisville, note 106; F. A. Michaux's Trav- 
els, volume iii of our series: Frankfort, note 39. — Ed. 

54 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

together, it began to rain, and continued raining most of 
the time for ten days, which made the roads extremely 
bad, and hard travelling. The soil being of a clayey 
nature, in many hollows, which, in a dry season, are per- 
fectly dry, we now found the water quite deep, in strong 
currents, almost impassable for horses, and quite so with 
carriages. Our feet were constantly wet during the day, 
and our horses frequently mid-rib deep in water. [31] 
There being but few bridges in this quarter, and these 
mostly log ones, we were frequently compelled to encoun- 
ter these vallies or guzzles, without bridges, full of water, 
and extremely difficult to pass. In some places, in low 
grounds, there would be log-causeways for a considerable 
distance, which, at this wet season, were very slippery, 
and rendered travelling doubly difficult and dangerous; 
although in a less wet time they might assist in keeping 
travellers out of the mud. The accommodations on the 
road for ourselves and horses were very good until we 
came to the north part of Pennsylvania. Here I was at- 
tacked with fever and ague, and was obliged to stop several 
days. All the company, except one man, left me, they 
being very anxious to arrive at their places of destination. 
I waited here until I was a little recruited, and then pro- 
ceeded on, although very weak and feeble, both from the 
disorder and the medicine I had taken. The third night 
after our departure, we stopped at a hut, where we found 
provision for ourselves and food for our horses. During 
the night it rained very hard ; the next morning we inquired 
of our landlord the distance to the next house, and were 
told it was twenty miles and a very rough road, which 
proved strictly true. We climbed over rocky mountains, 
often meeting with fallen trees, and no way of getting 
round them. My fellow-traveller would get off his horse 
and assist me in getting off mine, as I was unable to dis- 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages ^^ 

mount alone; he would then leap the horses over the trees, 
and then help me on again. Thus we continued ascend- 
ing and descending these high hills; and, although we 
started very early in the morning, and were diligent dur- 
ing the whole day, we did not arrive at the above men- 
tioned house until sunset, and were completely drenched 
in rain. We stopped, went into an old cabin, found a 
woman and a half a dozen children, asked permission to 
stay, and it was granted. There was nothing for our 
horses but a bunch of old straw lying out of the doors; 
the saddles were taken off, and the horses tied to it, where 
they remained all night. We then took off our coats and 
sat down to dry ourselves; but there was but very little 
difference between our present situation and out of doors. 
This place we named Hobson's choice, (that or none.) 
We then inquired of [32] the woman whether she could 
furnish us with a supper. She pleasantly replied she 
could, with such a rarity as she had not seen in the house, 
till that day, for three months and a half; it was some 
Indian meal, which she would make into pot-cakes, and 
which with a Httle butter, some pickles, and a kind of tea, 
which grew around her cabin, she said was good enough 
for any gentleman. These delicacies being ready, we sat 
down, and I ate extremely hearty, not having eaten or 
drank anything since sunrise; it was a delicious meal. 
The next morning we partook of the same fare, paid two 
dollars each, put our saddles on to our trembling, half 
starved horses, and bidding our hostess good bye, pro- 
ceeded on our journey. On our way we stopped at a 
house in an Indian village belonging to the Seneca tribe," 
which was improved as an inn. Here we found plenty of 

" This village was probably on the Allegheny reservation — one of the ten 
reservations retained by the Seneca Indians when the Holland Company in 
1797 extinguished their title. It lay along the Allegheny River, extending 
from the Pennsylvania line northeastward about twenty-five miles. — Ed. 

56 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

good provisions, and food for our horses. It was a small 
log house, very neat inside, and the accommodations supe- 
rior to any we had found on the road. They had all 
kinds of spirits, and, from all appearance, made but little 
use of them themselves; a circumstance not characteristic 
of these wild men of the woods. One man introduced 
himself as Major Obee; his manners did not appear like 
the rest of the Indians, and we understood the reason was, 
he was educated at Philadelphia. After several days 
more of hard travelling, we came out on the great western 
turnpike in New York.^^ This was a pleasant sight to 
us, and probably would have been to our poor animals 
could they have expressed their feelings ; for in travelling 
among mud, rocks and stumps, they had scarcely any 
hair left on their legs. I now considered myself almost 
at home, although three hundred miles from it. After 
this nothing material happened to me; I soon travelled 
these three hundred miles, and safely arrived in Massa- 
chusetts the beginning of October. 

In my absence, I had agreed to return again; accord- 
ingly on the third day of February, 181 5, I set out, and 
travelled nearly the same road as before, to the head of 
the Alleghany river; what they call the head of naviga- 
tion. This place is called Olean Point,^^ and was much 

" The Great Western Turnpike' was the second road leading into western 
New York. Unlike the Genesee Road, it was built by private companies and in 
several sections. The First Great Western Turnpike was built from Albany 
to Cherry Valley in 1802. At the time of Buttrick's voyage it had been ex- 
tended by the fourth Great Western Turnpike Company as far as Homer, a 
hundred and fifty miles from Albany. It was later continued past the head of 
Cayuga and Seneca lakes, and under the Lake Erie and Oil Spring Turnpike 
Company was completed to Lake Erie, terminating just north of the Pennsyl- 
vania boundary line. — Ed. 

" A small settlement was begun at Olean Point in 1804. For some time 
its projectors expected it to become an important place on the route of Western 
immigration; on one occasion two thousand people are said to have collected 
there, while waiting for navigation to open. But with the construction of the 

1 8i 2-1 8 1 9] But trick's Voyages 57 

altered in appearance since my former visit here; instead 
of a few log huts as before, there were forty or [33] fifty 
shanties, or temporary log houses, built up, and com- 
pletely filled with men, women and children, household 
furniture thrown up in piles; and a great number of 
horses, waggons, sleighs, &c., &c. These people were 
emigrants from the eastern States, principally from the 
State of Maine," and bound to different States down the 
Ohio river. Two gentlemen undertook to take a number 
of these people, and found it to be about twelve hundred, 
of all ages and sexes. They had a large number of flat- 
bottomed boats built for their conveyance; these were 
boarded up at the sides, and roofs over them, with chim- 
neys suitable for cooking, and were secure from the 
weather. There were also many rafts of boards and 
shingles, timber and saw logs, which would find a ready 
market at different places on the Ohio river. There are 
many saw-mills on the streams above this place, where 
these articles are manufactured from the fine timber 
which grows in vast quantities in this vicinity. The river 
at this time had risen full bank, and I should suppose was 
navigable for vessels of fifty tons burden; but was frozen 
over to the depth of ten or twelve inches; this was the 
cause of so many people being assembled here at this 
time, as many of them had been here two months wait- 
ing an opportunity to descend the river. I waited about 
ten days, which brought it nearly to the close of March. 
On Saturday night sat up late, heard some cracking of 

Erie Canal, the Allegheny route to the West was abandoned and Olean lay 
dormant, until the development of the oil interests in southwestern New York 
gave it new life. — Ed. 

"The hard times following the War of 1812-15 caused a great increase in 
immigration from New England, especially Maine. The "Ohio fever" be- 
came a well-known expression for this desire to move West, and in the years 
1815-16 it deprived Maine of fifteen thousand of her inhabitants. See Cham- 
berlain, Maine: Her Place in History (Augusta, 1877). — Ed. 

58 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

the ice, several of us observing that we should soon be on 
our way; went to bed. Next morning at daylight found 
the river nearly clear, and at eight o'clock it was com- 
pletely so. The place now presented a curious sight; the 
men conveying their goods on board the boats and rafts, 
the women scolding, and children crying, some clothed, 
and some half clothed, all in haste, filled with anxiety, as 
if a few minutes were lost their passage would be lost also. 
By ten o'clock the whole river for one mile appeared to 
be one solid body of boats and rafts. What, but just be- 
fore, appeared a considerable village, now remained but 
a few solitary huts with their occupants. Myself with the 
adventurers now drifted on rapidly with the current, and 
in six days we were in the Ohio river, and should have 
been much sooner had it been safe to have run in [34] 
the night. We found this river had risen in the same pro- 
portion as the Alleghany; and several houses at which I 
had stopped the July before, and which then stood thirty 
or forty feet above the surface of the water, were now so 
completely surrounded with water that we could float up 
to the doors; and on my arrival at Cincinnati I was told 
that the water had risen sixty feet above low water mark. 
Small boats would run just below the city, and come up 
in back water into the streets. Much damage was done 
in many places by this extraordinary freshet. 

In this part of the country I remained for a consider- 
able time, part of which I spent in this state, and part in 
Kentucky; but was soon attacked with fever and ague 
again. This complaint seemed to be quite attached to 
me, and no effort which I could make was sufficient to 
remove it while I remained on the banks of this river. I 
imputed the severity of this complaint to the heavy fogs 
which were experienced at this place; and determined to 
leave it, and go either to the North or South. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 59 

Having concluded on the latter, I took passage on board 
a boat to Shipping's Port,*^ just below the Falls of the 
Ohio. Here I went on board a barge of eighty tons 
burthen, bound to New Orleans. There were but a few 
steam boats traversing these waters at this time, for which 
reason these large boats of burden were built principally 
for conveying merchandize up the river; although they 
commonly went with full freight of country produce down. 
They are built with two masts, and sails, which are of 
little service, the stream being so crooked that many times 
the sails are hoisted with a fair wind, and in running a few 
miles the bend will be so great as to bring the wind ahead. 
In going down we stopped at many places on the Illinois 
and Tennessee side. Getting into the Mississippi river, 
our first stop at any town was at New Madrid. ^^ We 
made the boat fast to the shore, and about twelve o'clock 
at night was awaked by a noise which appeared like a 
cable drawing over the boat's side. I started and went 
on deck; found all quiet. My fear was that the boat had 
struck adrift, and was running over a log; but on inquiry 
found it was an earthquake. Next morning got under 
way, and the water having become [35] low, the sawyers 
made their appearance plentifully, some several feet out 
of the water. These sawyers are large trees, washed 
from the shore, which drift down till the roots or branches, 
reaching the bottom, fasten into the mud and become as 
firm as when standing in the forest. Should a boat be 
so unfortunate as to strike one of these, it would in all 
probabiHty prove fatal ; therefore every precaution is neces- 

^^ For the early history of Shippingsport, see Cuming's Tour, volume iv of 
our series, note 171. — Ed. 

" A brief account of New Madrid may be found in Cuming's Tour, vol. iv 
of our series, note 185. 

For a description of an earthquake on the Mississippi River, see Brad- 
bury's Travels, vol. v of our series, pp. 204-210. — Ed. 

6o Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

sary to avoid them. We had run but a few days when 
our boat rubbed on one of these logs, which lay so far 
under water as to escape our notice. Coming to the 
rudder, it lifted it from its hinges, and took it overboard. 
We immediately pullf^ for the shore, made fast, and 
sent the boat in search of it ; luckily about one mile below 
we found it and returned. We then proceeded on, and 
in two days after the same accident occurred again. Dili- 
gent search was made, but without effect. We then went 
on shore, cut down a small tree, and made a steering oar, 
about sixty feet long. The stern of the boat was so high, 
it was with difficulty this could be managed. In turning 
round points of land, we had many narrow escapes. Our 
usual custom was to get to the shore and make fast before 
night. At one time we concluded to drop anchor in the 
river, which we did; and next morning attempting to 
raise it, found it fast below. After working till ten o'clock, 
found there was no possibility of raising it, and cut away. 
This was unfortunate for us, as we had formerly occasion 
for it, and more so afterwards. Several nights on this 
trip, we made fast to the shore near the cane brakes. 
These grow here very thick, and many miles in extent ; at 
this season of the year they are dry; when setting fire to 
them they will crack, making a noise like soldiers' mus- 
ketry; which caused great amusement for the passengers 
and crew. We arrived at Natchez,^' Mississippi, and 
stopped there a part of two days. Immediately on leaving 
the place, found we had left one man on shore. We 
hailed a man standing there, and requested him to bring 
this man on board, who had just come in sight. They 
jumped into a boat, and when come within two hundred 
yards of us the man fell overboard, which was the last 
we saw of him. 

" For the early history of Natchez, consult F. A. Michaux's Travels, vol. 
iii of our series, note 53. — Ed. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 61 

[36] The river now becoming much straiter than we 
had found it before for three hundred miles, made the 
trip easier and safer, and on the eighth day of January, 
181 7, we arrived at New Orleans. 

During my stay I remained the principal part of the 
time on board this barge. The weather some part of the 
time was cool, and three nights the ground froze quite 
hard. Oranges and other fruits froze on the trees. By 
accounts from Natchez we learned that the snow had 
fallen six inches deep; a circumstance never known before 
by the oldest person resident there. 

The poor negroes, I was informed, suffered much, and 
many of them died. Having tarried till my business was 
closed, I determined to return by land; and finding a 
number of persons, who were going on the same route, I 
provided myself with a knapsack, a blanket, a tin quart 
pot and necessary provisions, and on the 23d day of Feb- 
ruary shouldered my knapsack and set out on my journey. 
I travelled three miles to the northward to Lake Ponti- 
chetrain;*^ there found a vessel in the afternoon ready to 
cross the lake, being about thirty miles. The wind being 
light, the next day at twelve o'clock we met the opposite 
shore; went to a tavern, took dinner, and found eight 
men travelling the same way, mostly strangers to each 
other, and but one who had travelled the road before. 
After collecting our forces, we went on, and travelled 
about fifteen miles that afternoon. The country being 
flat, we had to wade in water and mud a considerable 
part of the way, and in many places knee deep. This 
we found to be attended with bad consequences, as many 
of us took cold thereby. At night we stopped at a small 
house, the occupants of which gave us leave to sleep on 

^* Lake Pontchartrain was discovered by Iberville on his exploring expedi- 
tion in 1699, and named in honor of Count Pontchartrain, chancellor of France 
under Louis XIV. — Ed. 

62 'Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

the floor. We wrapped our blankets around us, with our 
wet clothes on, placed our feet to the fire, and so remained 
through the night. 

The next morning our joints were so stiff we were 
hardly able to walk; yet we travelled on about two hours, 
when we stopped by the way-side, struck up a fire, cooked 
some victuals, refreshed ourselves, and marched on; the 
same we did several times during the day; and at night 
found we had gained forty miles. We again refreshed 
ourselves with food, and went to our repose [37] for the 
night, it being the custom among these travellers to start 
very early, as much as two hours before day. Not being 
accustomed to this way of travelling, myself as well as 
several more wished to alter this course, and wait till a 
later hour for starting ; but the major part refused our pro- 
posal, saying they wanted to get home as quick as possible. 

No one wishing to be left alone, in the morning we all 
followed our leader; and went fifteen miles without re- 
freshment of any kind. My feet had now become very 
sore in consequence of travelling through mud and water, 
and I was much exhausted with fatigue. We stopped, 
I ate and drank with the rest of my comrades, but felt 
quite unwell. After sitting half an hour, felt unable to 
travel; they endeavored to encourage me, but I found it 
impossible to keep pace with them. I was sorry to be left 
alone, nevertheless observed to them, I did not wish to 
detain any one, and requested them to pursue their jour- 
ney. I got from them all the information possible for the 
journey, bid them farewell, and we parted. At this time 
I was only one hundred miles from New Orleans, and nine 
hundred miles to complete my journey to the Ohio river, 
and to add to my misfortune, five hundred of this lay 
through an Indian country, with but few white men on the 
road, and their friendship not to be relied on so much as 
the natives. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 63 

When my companions left me, I was at a very friendly 
man's house, who condoled my misfortune. Here I tarried 
about three hours, when, having determined to pursue my 
journey, I took leave of these friendly people, and com- 
menced my lonely journey, moving but slowly along ; and 
soon found I had entered the boundaries of the Choctaw 
nation. ^^ I had no difficulty in finding the way, as a few 
years before this, a road had been cut through the Choctaw 
and Chickasaw nations to the Tennessee river; ^^ and as 
young trees and brush had grown up in this road, the trees 
were marked to assist the traveller. By strictly observing 
these marked trees I felt secure, and proceeded slowly 
along, sometimes ten, and sometimes fifteen miles in a day. 

At night I generally found an Indian hut, where they 
[38] would receive me very friendly in their way, and throw 
down skins for me to sleep on. 

Seven days had now elapsed, and my health not in the 
least recruited, when, as I was walking on very deliber- 
ately, thinking of the decrease of my provision, and the 
distance I had yet to travel, I was overtaken by a white 
man, who asked me from whence I came, and where 
bound, at the same time observing that I looked sick, 
which probably must be the cause of my being alone; I 
answered it was. He then said, ' ' I live but one mile from 
this, go with me." I did so, and found his wife and sev- 
eral children in a small log hut, by whom I was received 
very kindly. 

This favor could not have come more opportunely, as I 
was both fatigued and sick. This man was from North 

*' For the Choctaw Indians, see Cuming's Tour, volume iv of our series, 
note 187. — Ed. 

^^ This road extended from Columbia, Tennessee, forty-five miles south- 
west of Nashville to Madisonville, Louisiana, two miles north of Lake Pont- 
chartrain. It was begun under the direction of the war department (March, 
1816), and was one of three roads constructed about that time by United 
States troops. — Ed. 

64 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

Carolina; and his motive for thus exiling himself and 
family to this part of the country was not my business to 
inquire; I have only to say, that they look suspicious. 
With this family I remained two days, and no brother, who 
had been long absent, could have been treated with more 
kindness and affection. 

I gave him a narrative of my life, which he and the 
family listened to with great attention; he also narrated 
his great adventures in hunting. 

The principal food which this cabin afforded, was dried 
venison and bread; the venison, for want of salt to pre- 
serve it, is cut in slices, dried and smoked, which makes 
what they call jerk. 

I now felt myself able to travel, and concluded to pro- 
ceed on. He furnished me with as much of this meat as 
I could carry, and after ascertaining that it was twenty- 
five miles to the next house, I took an affectionate farewell 
of this friendly man and family, and with my renewed 
strength, and supply of provisions, hastily travelled on 
until about twelve o'clock, hardly remembering I was 
weak ; but becoming somewhat faint for want of food, I sat 
down, took some refreshment, and then travelled on again, 
till I arrived at an Indian village, where I found two squaws, 
all the rest having left; for what purpose I know not; 
probably for a frolic. I here obtained a pint of sour milk, 
which proved an excellent [39] cordial to me at this time. 
I inquired for a place of entertainment, and found, by 
their holding up four fingers, that it was four miles. This 
I quickly travelled, and found a neat Indian hut, where I 
found the privilege of staying by myself, without inter- 
ruption from the family, who resided in an adjoining 
one. Salt provision and bread was what I now wanted, 
but neither of them could be procured; if I except some 
com pounded up, mixed with water, and baked on a stone 

1813-1819] But trick's Voyages 65 

by the fire. In travelling on several days, I came to the 
line between the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations," where 
I saw a large hewn log house and went in. The room 
was neat, and, as is usual, contained no furniture, except 
a table, nor any person, except a squaw and a few children. 
I walked into another apartment, and after staying some 
time, two white men came in and sat down, but appeared 
to have no wish for conversation with me. I endeavored 
to make some inquiries of them, but found they declined 
any answer. A dish of victuals was brought in and set 
on the table, which apparently consisted of minced meat 
and vegetables. I was very hungry, and the sight of this 
food was delightful. They sat down; I asked permission 
to partake with them; the answer was no. I stated my 
hungry situation, and observed that no reasonable com- 
pensation should be wanted; the answer was again no. 
I then got up and walked away, wondering within myself 
what could be the cause of these unfeeling creatures being 
here; probably for no good. I faintly travelled on until 
about three o'clock in the afternoon, when I came to an 
Indian hut, went round to the back part, there being no 
door in front, saw two Indians sitting on a platform of 
hewn logs, and endeavored to make some inquiries, but 
could not be understood. Thinking of the contents of my 
knapsack, which contained a little jerk and fat pork, with- 
out bread or salt, my stomach too weak to receive these, 
and I knew of nothing else I could obtain. At this mo- 
ment a boy came out of a small hut a few paces distant, 
bringing a large wooden bowl full of boiled com, and 
setting it down, they three placed themselves around it. 
I, knowing the Indian custom to distribute a part of what 

" Beginning with the Mississippi River at 34° 30', this boundary was an 
artificial Une drawn southeast to Noosacheahn Creek, thence following that 
creek to the Tombigbee River. — Ed. 

66 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

they had to strangers, ventured up and formed one of the 
circle. A large horn [40] spoon, perhaps three times the 
size of a common table spoon, was placed on the corn, 
which the oldest Indian filled and put into his mouth ; the 
second one did the same, then I followed, and so it went 
round. When we had continued so a few minutes, a tall 
well dressed Indian came out of the door, looked upon us 
all, but viewed me very attentively; he then went back 
and closed the door, but immediately returned bringing 
with him a cake made of pounded corn and baked, about 
the size of a large cracker, but much thicker ; this he put 
into my hand, and then stepped back with his eyes fixed 
on me. I divided it into four parts, and gave each of my 
messmates a part. He smiled and went again into the 
house, and left us to finish our repast. Never had I more 
reason for gratitude than at this time, and I think I did 
feel thankful that their hearts were open to my necessi- 
ties. After we had done eating, one of the Indians took 
the bowl and carried it back, the others followed, leaving 
me alone. From the appearance of these Indians, I sup- 
posed they might be servants or laborers for the Indian 
who brought me the cake, who I soon found was a chief; 
for when they were gone, this chief came out again to me, 
dressed in great style, with silver bands around his arms, 
a large silver plate on his breast, moccassins and leggings 
elegantly worked in Indian fashion, a handsome hat filled 
with plumes, with rows of beads around it, and other 
ornaments; a horse was led up to a stake, a genteel saddle 
and bridle was put on him, and in every respect the horse 
appeared fit for any gentleman to ride upon. The chief 
looked on himself, then on the horse, then on me; and I, 
wishing to gratify him, expressed my surprise and gratifi- 
cation as well as I could both in my looks and actions. 
This pleased him well; he soon spoke a few words of 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 67 

English, and handed me a bundle of papers. On exam- 
ining them, I found them to be bills of goods to a consider- 
able amount purchased at New Orleans. On looking 
over these bills, I found they contained a number of 
articles which he then had on ; pointing to the charges and 
then to the articles, I expressed great surprise at the riches 
which he wore. All this exalted me much in his esteem, 
and we continued thus a considerable time. He then led 
me into the room where [41] his wife and children were, 
gave me a glass of good old whiskey, conducted me into 
another neat apartment, spread a handsome grass carpet 
on the floor, and, by signs, bid me welcome to stay all 
night. In the same manner, by signs, he informed me that 
he was going off, and bowing, left the room. I saw him 
no more ; probably he was going to attend an Indian coun- 
cil. Being refreshed with food, and it drawing towards 
night, I laid down on the carpet, covered myself v^th my 
blanket, and quietly reposed until two o'clock in the 
morning, when I awoke, carefuUy got up, shouldered my 
pack and left this hospitable mansion. Being finely re- 
freshed and feeling new vigor, I travelled on easily till the 
sun was up a short distance ; when coming to a house, found 
a white woman and her daughter. I called for breakfast, 
and was weU supplied with bread, meat, tea, &c., and 
some to carry with me on my journey. From the hos- 
pitable treatment I had received at the two last houses, I 
began to think that the worst of my journey was over, and 
at eight o'clock I proceeded on about two miles, when I 
met three squaws with large packs, who appeared to be 
in great haste, and took no notice of me; which gave me 
reason to suspect some trouble a-head. One or two miles 
further on heard a whooping and yelling, and presently 
saw an Indian running to meet me. He walked very fast, 
bare foot and barelegged, without any clothes but his 

68 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

shirt, and that very bloody, looking as though he had been 
engaged in some severe conflict. When he came up he 
seized me by the shoulder and held me fast, and kept his 
continual whooping and yelling, which almost ^stunned 
me. He was very drunk, and kept reeling backward and 
forward, which occasioned me to do the same, as his ner- 
vous arm made such a grip on my shoulder it was im- 
possible for me to extricate myself. Sometimes he would 
bear me to the ground, and most of his weight would be 
upon me. Trying to give signs that I was sick, he laughed ; 
I then called him bobashela, which is their word for 
brother; this pleased him, and having a bottle of whiskey 
in his other hand, he put it to my mouth saying good. I 
opened my mouth, and he thrust the neck of the bottle 
seemingly down my throat, the whiskey ran out, and 
strangled me badly, and [42] when I sat to coughing and 
choking, he burst out into a loud laugh and let go of my 
shoulders. He was a stout, tall man, had a long knife by 
his side, and put his hand several times on it, but exhibited 
no appearance of injuring me ; yet, from his drunken sit- 
uation, I thought I had considerable to fear. I repeated 
the word brother several times, when he looked sharp at 
me a few moments, and uttering a loud scream, left me to 
pursue my way, happy that the word bobashela had been 
my protection. About half an hour after this, coming 
round a large bend in the road, I saw twenty or thirty In- 
dians, men, squaws and papooses, all formed in a circle. 
On coming up with them, I endeavored to pass, but one 
caught me by my pack and pulled me partly into the ring; 
another pulled, and another, seemingly half a dozen pulling 
different ways, talking, laughing, whooping, and hallooing, 
and I in the midst, without means of defence or chance of 
escape. I endeavored to make signs of sickness, but to 
no effect ; soon a tall, old Indian stepped up and spoke 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 69 

to them; they all let go of me. I turned to this Indian 
and made signs of sickness, by putting my hand on 
my breast, &c., which he noticed, and seemingly with 
pity; he was the only sober one among them. They 
now began a second attack upon me; he spoke again 
and they left me. He now made a motion for me 
to go on, which I did, and having proceeded a few 
yards, I turned my head partly round and perceived a 
young Indian with a glass bottle in his hand just in the 
act of striking me on the head. I looked him full in the 
face; he lowered his bottle, and sitting partly down, 
laughed ; he then returned to his comrades. I travelled on 
as fast as possible till I lost sight of them, when getting 
about half a mile, I came to a stream of water which 
crossed the road. It was narrow, and the current swift; a 
tree was fallen across, on the body of which I passed over. 
Stopping for a moment, I heard the yell of an Indian, and 
the footsteps of a horse in full speed; fearing it might be 
some of the gang I had just left, I stepped into the bushes 
and secreted myself behind a tree. In this situation I 
could see a person who passed without being discovered 
myself. Scarcely had I placed myself behind the tree 
when an Indian rode up to the stream on full speed with a 
[43] rifle on his shoulder; coming to the stream of 
water, his horse stopped and refused to proceed ; he made 
several attempts to cross, but the horse refused, wheeling 
about and endeavoring to return. The Indian finding 
that he could not make the horse cross, sat still, looking 
up and down in every direction for a considerable time, 
when, perceiving no person, and not descrying the object 
of his pursuit, he wheeled about and returned. This was 
the same young Indian who pursued me with the bottle, 
and who, had he been fortunate enough to have discovered 
me, would immediately have ended my hfe with his rifle. 

JO Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

After some time, I ventured out from behind the tree, and 
in great haste pursued my journey, often looking back, 
fearing that this or some other Indian might be in pursuit 
of me. I passed a number of cabins without stopping 
and without refreshment till after sunset, when I saw a 
squaw standing at a cabin door. I asked permission to 
stay. She made signs by holding up two fingers, that in 
two miles I should find a place to stop at. I went on — it 
soon became dark — I saw a bright light shining between 
the logs of a cabin. On going up to the door I saw a 
number of squaws sitting round the room silent, as though 
something serious had taken place. I made motions for 
staying all night, when one, who appeared to be head of 
the number, shook her head and pointed to another room, 
there being two rooms under this roof. I immediately 
heard surly noises and clashing of knives, the squaw ap- 
peared very anxious, and shaking her head, made signs 
for me to be off. I hesitated for a moment, but soon 
found that the room was filled with drunken Indians, 
which occasioned me to wait for no further invitation to 
depart. The squaws all looking earnestly at each other 
convinced me of my danger, and I stepped nimbly to the 
door and proceeded on. Walking about half a mile, I 
came to a low swampy piece of ground, and it being ex- 
tremely dark, I could not tell what direction to take; and 
being much fatigued with travelling, and faint for want 
of food, having taken nothing through the day, I sat down 
on an old stump in mud almost knee deep, and should 
have fallen asleep had it not been for the fear of chilling 
to death, or being massacred by the Indians, which I cer- 
tainly should if they had happened to have come that way. 
After ruminating for some time [44] on my perilous situa- 
tion, I faintly rose up, travelled on perhaps for a mile, 
when fortunately I saw another light, and following it 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages yi 

came up to another cabin. I knocked, and an old Indian 
opened the door. I stepped in — made signs to stay all 
night — he shook his head, pointed to the cabin I had just 
left, and said, Indian, whiskey, making motions that the 
Indians that belonged there would soon be at home, and 
I should be in danger should they return and find me at 
their cabin. This signified nothing to me, as I was totally 
unable to proceed any further. I therefore threw down 
my bundle, and this poor old Indian expressed great 
friendship and fear for my safety. He threw down some 
deerskins which they used for beds, and I laid down with 
my bundle under my head, without removing any of my 
clothing. I had a wish to keep awake, but it was impos- 
sible, and I soon fell asleep ; so much was I overcome with 
fatigue and fasting. I awoke in about two hours; found 
this old friend sitting up as if to guard me; we looked at 
each other wistfully, and in a few minutes I fell asleep 
again. About two hours before daylight, the Indian pull- 
ing me by the arm, awoke me, when at a little distance 
from the cabin I heard Indians whooping, bells rattling, 
and horses in considerable numbers coming with the ut- 
most rapidity and haste. This was a horrid sound at this 
dead hour of the night, when all before had been sUent. 
I jumped up as quick as possible, and the old Indian hand- 
ing me my bundle, stepped to the door and was just open- 
ing it, when they approached so near I stepped back, and 
both stood trembling with fear. Fortunately for us they 
passed by, nor was it long from our hearing them on one 
side before they had passed out of hearing on the other. 
On opening the door, it was so extremely dark, I could 
perceive no object; I went back and sat down before the 
fire on a block, not wishing to sleep any more; while the 
poor Indian walked back and forth in the cabin. Within 
one hour the same noise of whooping, yelling, horses run- 

72 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

ning, &c., was heard. I caught my bundle, shpped out 
at the door, walked hastily about fifty yards, stepped into 
the bushes and sat down. In a few moments four or five 
Indians rode up to the door and dismounted. When I 
had seen the last of them go in and close the door, I ven- 
tured on my old track again; not without listening [45] 
attentively at the least noise, fearing they might be in pur- 
suit of me. Travelling on as fast as my trembling limbs 
would permit, until nearly sunrise, I saw a large log house 
on the right-hand side of the way, and hoped to find some 
friendly aid at this place ; but on arriving near the place, I 
observed on the left-hand side, a number of large trees 
fallen and burnt, except the bodies and large limbs; among 
these were ten or twelve Indians, some sitting but most of 
them lying down, being intoxicated. These wretched 
creatures had been using their knives upon each other till 
their heads and arms were completely mangled, and were 
covered with blood from head to foot. This, with the 
addition of crock from the burnt trees, caused them to ex- 
hibit a scene of horror which I cannot describe. I passed 
them without even turning my head, leaving them to sup- 
pose I did not notice them. It now began to rainjvery 
hard ; I travelled on till about nine o'clock, when I saw a 
hut a-head, and coming within about three hundred yards, 
three white men came out to meet me. When we met they 
appeared very glad to see me, as they had heard of me 
several times before. I learned that they were from Nat- 
chez, and bound to the state of Indiana, on the same road 
I was travelling, and would keep me company through the 
remaining part of this wilderness. It is probable these 
two men passed me two days before, while I was at my 
friend's the Indian chief. 

The landlord here was a white man who had married a 
squaw, which enabled him to reside in peace among them. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 73 

I conversed with him respecting his happy situation; of 
the plenty of every comfort of life that appeared around 
him, free from the noise and bustle of cities and other pop- 
ulous places, money constantly coming in, with little or 
no expenditure, &c., &c. He made some reply; the tears 
started in his eyes, and the discourse dropped. We tar- 
ried here until the next forenoon, in which time I washed 
and dried my clothes, procured provisions of our landlord, 
and made preparations for our departure. We left this 
abode of plenty, after a stay of twenty-four hours, being 
finely refreshed with the abundance of everything which 
is necessary for the support of man. Nothing extraordi- 
nary happened to us on the way; the Indians appeared 
[46] friendly, and provisions generally procured with ease, 
and thus we passed on till we arrived on the banks of the 
Tennessee river, at a house kept by an Indian by the name 
of TaUbot. This man was said to be very rich, in land, 
cattle and negro slaves, and also to have large sums of 
money in the bank. He had but one daughter, and I was 
told that many white men had attempted to gain this 
prize. But the old man suspecting their affections to be 
placed on the money rather than the daughter, advised 
her to remain single a little longer. 

It has often been remarked, and I believe truly, of the 
Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians," that they are very hos- 
pitable to the white people who traverse their country ; and 
I have never heard of a life being taken or an insult given, 
when they were free from ardent spirits ; but like all other 
Indians, when intoxicated they are savage, cruel and fear- 
less. But even then, they oftenest take revenge on their 
own countrymen, relatives and friends, who happen to 

^ For further information on the customs of the Chickasaw and Choctaw 
Indians, consult Adair, American Indians (London, 1775); Pickett, History of 
i4/a&a»»a (Charleston, 1851). — Ed. 

74 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

offend them. Before they enter on any business of im- 
portance, such as agriculture, or a hunting or fishing ex- 
pedition, they despatch several of their men to a consid- 
erable distance, to procure a quantity of ardent spirits. 
This is brought on horses, in kegs of their own manu- 
facturing, and carried to such places as they appoint, 
where it is deposited until the ti e appointed for their 
meeting arrives. And it is remarkable that although their 
thirst for rum is so great, yet this deposite is entirely safe, 
right in the sight of every one, and no fears are entertained 
of its being meddled with until the time appointed. When 
this time arrives they assemble and commence their oper- 
ations; singing, dancing, drinking, &c. They always select 
one or more to keep sober, who sit quietly by themselves, 
watching the rest, and who taste not a drop them- 
selves till the frolic is over, even if it should continue three 
or four days and nights, as it sometimes does, but which 
time it seldom or never exceeds. This being over, the 
Indian or Indians who have performed this duty take 
their turn, and in the same way take their fill, without 

Crimes committed in a state of intoxication are gener- 
ally forgiven, not even excepting murder; but if otherwise 
committed they are punished with the greatest severity. 
[47] Their barbarous customs, however, are fast wearing 
away, since our missionaries, schoolmasters, &c., are sent 
among them. 

They seem to have some sense of religious worship, as 
at several times, when passing their cabins, I have seen 
them sitting or kneeling in different postures, at which 
time they will remain fixed in their position without even 
turning their heads, let what will come. This ceremony 
they perform after losing a near relative, but how long 
they continue in this posture I know not. Once or twice 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 75 

I saw four poles stuck in the ground, with forked ends up, 
and sticks laid across at little distances, on which was a 
large roll of bark. On inquiry I was told that in this bark 
was the remains of a deceased person, who, after remain- 
ing there the accustomed time, would be taken down and 

They are very affectionate to each other, especially to 
their children, whom they treat with great kindness and 
attention. We arrived at Mr. Tallbot's late in the even- 
ing, and tarried there till next morning, when we crossed 
the river, about one mile, and landed in the state of Ten- 
nessee. This gave us fresh hopes of finishing our journey 
among civilized people. We travelled about nine miles, 
and came to a house where we changed our clothes and re 
freshed ourselves. I disposed of my blanket, cooking 
utensils, &c., which I had prepared for my journey 
through the wilderness, and moved on with a small bun- 
dle in my hand, which enabled me to travel very easily, 
being freed from my former load. I kept company with 
my companions two days, when they were to leave my 
road. We bade each other farewell, and I was once more 
left alone. I pursued on, and came to a village where was 
a large three story brick tavern; they appeared like New 
England people. Thinking I should here find what I had 
long been wishing for, salt provision, I waited till dinner 
was ready, and to my joy I saw a large dish of salt beef and 
vegetables placed on the table. In company with a num- 
ber of gentlemen, I sat down and feasted my appetite till 
the last man rose from the table. Although I had eaten 
twice or three times the quantity of food I had been accus- 
tomed to, yet I was not satisfied ; and at supper I renewed 
my hold on the salt [48] beef, to the neglect of pies, cakes, 
&c. I went to bed fully satisfied, but awoke about mid- 
night in most distressing pain, and almost famishing with 

76 Early Western Travels |]Vol. 8 

thirst. I got up, went down stairs in search of some per- 
son, but could find none. I then opened the outside door, 
and the rain was pouring down in torrents. I saw an old 
tub standing under the eaves, full of water. I ventured 
out, put my mouth to the tub and drank several times; I 
then waited a few minutes, drank again, and went in. All 
this did not satisfy my thirst; but as I was very wet, being 
but partly dressed, I went to my bed, shivering with cold, 
and after getting a little warm, fell asleep. I awoke in 
about two hours, in much the same situation as at first, 
went to the old tub again, and drank with the same eager- 
ness. I then went back to my bed scarcely able to crawl, 
and passed the remainder of the night in a sleepless and 
distressed condition. Early in the morning, hearing some 
of the family up, I went down, sat by the fire, and seemed 
to myself but little more than alive. Breakfast being 
called, I had no appetite, and waiting till eleven o'clock I 
sat out on my way, and pursued on as well as I could till 
about sunset, when I had gained eight miles, and came to a 
planter's house, who invited me to stay with him all night, 
which invitation I accepted. But nothing could I eat till 
the next day, and continued travelling in this situation 
four or five days, when my appetite began to return, and 
I recovered my strength fast, so that in a few days I was 
able to travel my usual distance. Passing through a num- 
ber of fine villages and towns, the largest of which was 
Nashville, I arrived at Lexington," Kentucky, where I 
found people very friendly, and willing to assist the weary 
traveller on all occasions. From thence I pursued on my 
course till I arrived at the Ohio river, and crossed over 
into Cincinnati, in the afternoon of the forty-seventh day 
from my leaving New Orleans; having performed a jour- 

" A brief account of Nashville and Lexington may be found in A. Michaiuc's 
Travels, vol. iii of our series, notes 28, 103. — Ed. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 77 

ney of one thousand miles only. The next morning I 
walked out in the streets, and met one of my first com- 
panions with whom I started from New Orleans. He 
lived a few miles above, on the Kentucky side of the river. 
He informed me he had been at home twenty-two days, 
and told me that the third day after we parted another 
man stopped, and the fifth day [49] two more, and before 
he was three fourths of the way through his journey, 
there was only himself and one other left. Some from 
being lame, and others sick, and what has become of 
them, said he, I know not; you are the only one I have 
seen or heard from. 

I remained at this place a few days, and then went out 
about ten miles to a town called Madison.'* It being now 
the month of April, and fearing my old complaint, the 
fever and ague, I resolved to quit the Ohio river, and go 
out to Detroit in the Michigan territory. A gentleman 
from that place was soon expected here for his family, who 
at this time resided in this neighborhood. The lady hear- 
ing of my determination, called on me, and wished me 
to stay there till her husband's return, and then accom- 
pany them to Detroit. This was a pleasant thing to me 
as I was wholly unacquainted with the road through that 
country. The gentleman did not return until the first of 
August, when he arrived with a waggon and horses, and 
after suitable preparations were made, he took his wife 
and children with some light baggage, and we commenced 
our journey. 

We found the roads very rough for about eighty miles, 
when we came on to the prairie grounds. We had laid in a 
good stock of provisions, knowing that in consequence of 

"^ Madison, on the Ohio River fifty miles above Louisville and the county- 
seat of Jefferson County, Indiana, was settled in 1808. A description of its 
appearance in 181 6 states that it contained three or four brick houses, twenty 
frame houses, and about a hundred cabins. — Ed. 

78 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

the late war the country was nearly drained. We now 
came to where the water was very bad, the country being 
flat and the water stagnant. After straining it would still 
exhibit live insects, which they call wiggles. The inhabi- 
tants were few and scattering, but the soil remarkably 
good, the grass growing five or six feet high, interspersed 
with flowers of all colors, which gave it a delightful appear- 
ance. It is thought by many that this part of the country 
was once overflown with water, and what adds to the prob- 
ability is the number of little hifls or rises of land, cov- 
ered with trees, standing in these prairie grounds, like so 
many islands, as probably they once were. Great num- 
bers of cattle are drove from Kentucky and elsewhere to 
feed on these grounds, and soon become very fat. We 
camped out two nights, and by forming tents with blank- 
ets made ourselves very comfortable, and slept without 
any apprehension, except from the prairie rattlesnake, a 
small but very poisonous reptile, [50] frequently to be 
seen in those parts. After a slow but safe journey, we 
arrived at Lower Sandusky," two hundred miles on our 
way. Here we sent our horses on by the mail carrier, 
went on board of a vessel at the foot of the Sandusky 
Rapids, so called, and went down the Sandusky river 
to the Lower Sandusky bay, to a small town called Ven- 
ice." At this place but two years before, not a tree had 
been fallen; now, between twenty and thirty log houses 

^' Lower Sandusky, at the head of navigation of the Sandusky River, was 
until Wayne's victory at Fallen Timbers, an important Wyandot village. A 
fort was built there during the War of 1812-15, for the history of which see 
Evans's Tour, post, note 52. From the close of the war the growth of settle- 
ment was continuous. About 1850 the name of the town was changed to Fre- 
mont, in honor of the Rocky Mountain explorer. — Ed. 

'^ This village was laid out in 181 6 at the mouth of Cold Creek, three miles 
west of Sandusky City. It developed but slowly, owing to the unhealthfulness 
of the climate; see Flint's Letters, vol. ix of our series. Flour mills were con- 
structed in 1833, and it became a centre for the industry in Ohio. — Ed. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 79 

are built, two large framed store houses, and two wharves 
for the accommodation of the back country traders. 
Vessels of considerable size come up lake Erie and deposite 
their loading here, being but six miles from the lake. 
The next day after our arrival, president Monroe, with a 
number of distinguished officers, stopped here, on his tour 
through the Western country." We stayed here two days, 
when we hired a man to carry us across the lake in a boat. 
We laid in but a small quantity of provision as the dis- 
tance was but seventy miles, and with a fair wind could 
run it in less than a day. We set sail at noon with a fair 
breeze, and ran up the lake about twenty miles, keeping 
near the shore. About an hour before sunset it became 
calm, and not wishing to be exposed on the open lake in 
the night, we ran into a creek a short distance and made 
our boat fast to a stake, which had been set there by some 
one before us. We found there another boat with two 
men encamped on a pleasant beach. The gentleman 
with his family and pilot went on shore and encamped 
also. I chose to remain on board. They formed now a 
considerable company, four men, one woman and three 
children. They built up a large fire, got supper, prepared 
camps for the night, and laid down in quietude, expect- 
ing a quiet night's rest. But the clouds gathered up fast, 
and between eight and nine o'clock the wind blew violently, 
and they gathered up their blankets and clothing and tried 
to get on board the boat, but she lay so far from shore 
that with all my assistance they could not accomplish their 
object. The fire had all blown away and not a spark left. 

'' President Monroe made two tours. On the first, lasting from May to 
the middle of September, 1817, he visited the New England States, journeyed 
thence through New York to Niagara, west to Detroit, and returned to Wash- 
ington via Zanesville and Pittsburg. On the second, undertaken in 1819, he 
went as far south as Augusta, Georgia, passed through the Cherokee region to 
Nashville, and thence to Louisville and Lexington. — Ed. 

8o Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

The night was dark, and the rain poured down in torrents ; 
there was no shelter, not even a tree to defend them from 
the tempest. The three men took each of them a child, 
wrapped it in a blanket, [51] and sat down upon such 
clothing or bedding as came nearest to hand. The other 
man and the woman were obliged to sit without anything 
but their clothing. I often called to them from the boat, 
but the howling of the tempest prevented me from being 
heard. In this situation they all remained about eight 
hours till daylight, when it ceased to rain, but the wind con- 
tinued to blow very hard. I then moved the stern of the 
boat round and got on shore ; but the sight of these weather- 
beaten objects presented a spectacle I cannot describe. 
The children, however, had been kept considerably com- 
fortable through the night. The woman acknowledged 
she was alive, and that was all that could be said of her; 
the men appeared much better than I should have sup- 
posed. As for myself, I was comfortably situated, and 
should have slept well had it not been for the anxiety I 
felt for my unhappy fellow-travellers on shore. The lake 
now appeared more like the Atlantic than like an inland 
navigation, the waves running so high that it was impos- 
sible for us to venture out; and the high grass and a few 
bushes at a little distance promising some assistance in 
sheltering us from the storm, we evacuated the old post 
and retired to them for shelter, where with the help of our 
blankets and other things we contrived so to break the 
wind as to enable us to kindle up a fire sufficient to warm 
and dry ourselves. We then prepared the remainder of 
our scanty food, which was sufficient for a meal after re- 
serving a part of it for the woman and her children. We 
remained here through the day and night, the wind still 
blowing a gale. The next morning very early, three men 
went in search of provisions, and did not return till three 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 81 

o'clock in the afternoon. They had travelled all that time 
and found but one house, where they obtained three small 
loaves of bread, which were enough for the woman and 
children only. The wind had now ceased to blow, and 
the lake was nearly smooth; and after feeding the chil- 
dren we put our things on board, and made up the lake 
shore. At sunset judging ourselves about thirty miles from 
Detroit, we ventured out on the open lake with our oars 
only to move us a-head ; we rowed all night, and at daylight 
discovered the town of Maiden ^* about six miles directly 
a-head, on the [52] Canada shore ; and a little breeze spring- 
ing up, we hoisted sail, and a little after sunrise landed 
half a mile below the town. We went up, found a market, 
purchased fresh beef, bread, &c., and had a fine break- 
fast; it having been forty-eight hours since we had eaten 
any thing before. We now had eighteen miles to stem a 
strong current with our oars only, before reaching Detroit. 
At ten o'clock we moved on, and after having labored 
hard till two o'clock in the morning, we made up to the 
city of Detroit,^^ and went to a tavern, the landlord of 
which had formerly been an acquaintance of ours. He, 
by some means or other, had heard of our being on the 
lake in the blow I have mentioned; himself and several 
others manned a vessel and went in pursuit of us; but 
after making every possible search in vain, he returned, 
supposing we must have been lost; but was most agree- 
ably surprised when he saw us under his own roof. 

I remained here a few days, and then embarked on 

^' Fort Maiden, or Amherstburg, on the Canadian shore sixteen miles south 
of Detroit, was established by the British in 1 798, soon after they had evacuated 
Detroit in accordance with the terms of Jay's Treaty. During the War of 1812- 
15, it was occupied by General Proctor until Perry's naval victory (September, 
181 3) compelled him to retreat. Before leaving, he set fire to the fort and it 
was not rebuilt until 1839. — Ed. 

*' For the early history of Detroit, see Croghan's Journals, vol. i of our 
series, note 18. — Ed. 

8 2 Karly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

board a vessel, and went down the lake in search of the 
property I had left in the neighborhood of Fort Erie, 
Upper Canada, at the commencement of the late war, as 
I have before mentioned. I arrived at Buffalo, and in- 
quired for the two gentlemen with whom I had left my 
business, and found they were both dead. I then crossed 
over the river, and went to my old friend's house, and to 
my surprise found he was dead also. His unhappy widow 
informed me that soon after my departure he was arrested 
by order of the British government, and committed to 
prison, which was the last account she had of him; but 
supposed that he made his escape, and either fell into the 
hands of the Indians, or that in attempting to cross the lake 
was drowned. The person who last had charge of my 
property was an American bom, but had become a British 
subject ; he took an active part in the late war against his 
own countrymen, and still persisted in so doing; and 
totally refused to pay my demand. The persons with 
whom I conversed on the subject, advised me to let it 
remain as it was; observing that although the two govern- 
ments were now at peace, yet a personal envy still existed 
between individuals of the two nations, if not between the 
governments; and as [53] the Court of King's Bench was 
now closing its session, and would not sit again until a 
year from that time, there could be no action tried for a 
long time. This discouraged me and I gave it up, pur- 
chased a horse, saddle and bridle, and returned by land 
through this Upper Province to Detroit. On my journey 
back to Detroit, I was most sensibly struck with the devas- 
tations which had been made by the late war: beautiful 
farms, formerly in high cultivation, now laid waste ; houses 
entirely evacuated and forsaken; provision of all kinds 
very scarce; and where once peace and plenty abounded, 
poverty and destruction now stalked over the land. I 

1812-1819] Butirick's Voyages 83 

returned to Detroit, where I remained the most of my 
time till the fall of eighteen hundred and eighteen; when 
not yet satisfied with roving about, I started, in November, 
in company with another man, for the central part of 
Ohio. The roads at this season of the year were very 
bad through the Michigan Territory, which we were now 
travelling. We passed over the battle ground of French- 
town and river Raison; ^" to the river forty miles; thence 
to Maumee rapids, forty miles; our nearest way now to go 
to Sandusky river was thirty-five miles. On this last 
route we had no road; the only guide for the traveller 
was marked trees. ^^ The first morning missed our way, 
got lost in the wilderness, and wandered about till three 
o'clock in the afternoon, when we came to the old marked 
trees; we walked on until sunset, when we were obliged to 
halt ; struck up a fire, broiled some pork, on the end of a 
stick, and with some bread refreshed ourselves; but with- 
out drink, as there was no water fit for use. We laid 
ourselves down by the body of an old tree, and partly got 
to sleep, but were aroused from our slumbers by the horrid 
howling of a wolf, who had walked up close to our backs. 
My companion was in great fear, and would have run 
had I not stated to him the danger of leaving the fire. 
He stopped, jumped up and down, hallooing with all his 
might. Not being much acquainted with these animals, 
he considered his situation very dangerous. After some 
time I persuaded him to lie down again, but it was not 
long before the sound redoubled on our ears; his fears 
became greater than before, as he found there was no 
retreat. I laid down myself, [54] but could not possibly 
persuade him and he remained in motion, and sometimes 

'" An account of these battles is given in Evans's Tour, post, note 63. — Ed. 
'* Buttrick was now in the Black Swamp; for a description of which, see 
Evans's Tour, post. — Ed. 

84 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

with yells which almost equalled the wolves, through the 
night. Early in the morning we collected our things and 
moved on ; about nine o'clock came to a running stream of 
water; this was a delicious treat to us, although I drank 
heartily several times before I could taste in the least, my 
mouth had become so exceedingly dry. We now began 
to think we had lost our way, but pursued on the same 
course till we came to a log house, where we found a very 
friendly man who kept a house of entertainment. We 
got some refreshment, and gave him an account of our 
travel. He said it was a common thing for travellers to 
get lost on that way, and informed us that we had gained 
but fifteen miles. Just as he was saying this, a large 
wolf came up close to the door, but seeing us, ran furiously 
into the woods; this, probably, was our visitor the last 
night. On inquiry we found the distance to the next 
house seventeen miles. At eleven o'clock we started, 
determined to see the end of the woods that day; and 
after blundering over stumps and rocks, and through 
mud till ten o'clock at night, we arrived at the village of 
Lower Sandusky. Here I left my fellow-traveller, and 
travelled on to the town of Grenville.^^ I tarried there 
till Spring, and from thence went to a village called Port- 
land, on Lower Sandusky bay, where I arrived in April, 
1 819, fully satisfied with roving.'* 

Here I found a pleasant village containing about twenty- 
five houses, besides two taverns, three large stores and 
store-houses, and three wharves of a considerable length; 

^ General Wayne built a fort at Greenville, seventy miles north of Cincin- 
nati, in December, 1793, and marched thence against the Indians. He made 
it his headquarters after the victory at Fallen Timbers, and there (August, 
1795), the treaty of peace was signed. The village was laid out in 1808. — Ed. 

" Portland, falling within the Connecticut "firelands," was laid out by Zal- 
mon Wildman of Danbury, Connecticut, in 1816, in the centre of his tract. 
A few years later the plat was enlarged and the name changed to Sandusky 
City.— Ed. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 85 

the water being of a sufficient depth for vessels to come up 
and discharge their cargoes. The steamboat stops here on 
her passage, and leaves many passengers, taking in others, 
&c. The land in and about this village is owned by two 
men from Connecticut, who calculated, probably, on a 
large town or city, but it has not answered their expecta- 
tions, people finding the place very unhealthy, owing to 
the badness of the water. The unhealthiness of the 
place, however, continues only from about the middle of 
July through the fall months; the remaining part of the 
year is considered healthy. In the month of March, 
wishing to go on to Cunningham's [55] Island" with an- 
other man, we took a canoe, and getting three others to 
assist us, we made a rope fast to the bow of the canoe, 
and drew it across the bay two miles, which was frozen 
over, to the lake which was not frozen. When we were 
about half way across, one man on one side of the canoe 
and myself on the other, both fell in, the ice breaking under 
us; but being one on each side, we balanced the canoe 
and kept our heads out of water until the other men broke 
the thin ice and drew the canoe partly up on to that which 
was solid, and we crawled up, and thus escaped a watery 
grave. We then went on, and reached the other shore. 
It being late in the afternoon, our friends left us and re- 
turned. The beach here was clear of snow and ice. We 
turned our boat up on one side so that it might make a 
partial shelter for us during the night, and built a fire in 
front. We then walked across the neck of land to the 
other side, saw the lake clear of ice except a few floating 
pieces. Our object in crossing the bay that afternoon 

'* This island, twelve miles northwest of Sandusky City, owed its first name 
to a French Indian trader called Cunningham, who lived there from 1808 to 1812. 
It contained few inhabitants — only six acres having been cleared — when in 
1833 the greater part of it was purchased by Datus and Irad Kelley. In 1840 
the name was by legislative enactment changed to Kelley's Island. — Ed. 

86 Karly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

was, that we might be ready to start on the lake early in 
the morning, when there is generally but little wind, it 
being then easier and safer, the water being smooth. We 
then returned back to our boat, rekindled our fire, took 
our supper, dried my clothes as well as I could, and 
camped for the night. But soon the wind began to blow, 
and the snow fell very fast; within two hours it blew a 
heavy gale; our fire was blown away, the boat fell over, 
and our only course was to run back and forth upon the 
beach to prevent our perishing in the storm, which some- 
times appeared impossible for me to do. At length, to our 
great joy, the morning came, the wind ceased, and the 
snow abated. The ice, which we crossed in the after- 
noon, was broken up and driven into heaps, with the addi- 
tion of what had driven from the lake, and all up and 
down the lake shore presented the same dreary appear- 
ance. We were now hemmed in on all sides, and it was 
impossible to cross either with a boat or on foot, and our 
only resource was, to prepare a camp in the woods, which 
we did by cutting down trees and bushes, sticking the 
ends into the ground which was not frozen, and forming 
the tops together over our heads. We thus made us a 
comfortable cabin, built a large fire, ate our [56] break- 
fast, and dried our clothes. We here remained seven 
days, when all our provision had become exhausted, ex- 
cept some dry beans; these boiled in water were made to 
supply the place of every other necessary; and although 
we were compelled to acknowledge the flavor was not 
quite so good, yet we were thankful that we had this 
means of preserving ourselves from complete starvation. 
We were now in sight of the village, and kept a large 
fire burning in the night to satisfy the people that we were 
alive. During the day we were constantly watching for 
the separation of the ice, so that we might pass; and on 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 87 

the seventh day, in the afternoon, we thought we might 
accomphsh our retreat. Accordingly we put our boat 
into the water, and our things on board, and with a pole 
pushing the ice from the boat, we made our way along 
for some distance, when we saw a boat coming in the 
same manner to meet us. Coming up with her, found it 
to be the same men who crossed the bay with us on the 
ice, and who had come to relieve us. They turned their 
boat about, and we all arrived safely home the same even- 
ing without accomplishing our visit to Cunningham's 

The inhabitants of the village remained very healthy 
until July, when a new complaint of the eyes became epi- 
demic among them. It attacked all ages and sexes with- 
out distinction, and, with some, would, in a few days, 
cause total blindness. 

This complaint is, I believe, what physicians call the 
Egyptian Opthalmia." Some, who were very prompt in 
their applications, were fortunate enough to recover their 
sight after a considerable time; and others, not made 
wholly blind, never saw so well as before. Many of the 
inhabitants were attacked with fever and ague, and these 
generally escaped the more formidable disease of the 

As for myself, I remained perfectly well until Novem- 
ber, when, one morning, my right eye was attacked with 
inflammation and swelling; and the next morning my left 
eye was attacked in the same manner. The inflammation 
gradually increased, so that in about three weeks I was 
totaUy blind. My surgeon, a very skilful man, made 
every exertion for my recovery, and about the middle [57] 
of December I could discern light; and in ten or twelve 
days after, could distinguish colors. My surgeon now 

" It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, with a^purulent discharge. — Ed. 

88 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

being called into another section of the country, was 
absent about three weeks, when, from the want of proper 
assistance, I grew worse, and was again in total darkness. 
On his return, using every means in his power, I was so 
far restored in a few weeks as to be able to discern light; 
and continuing very slowly to gain until the first of April. 
I could then see to distinguish capital letters. 

A neighboring physician then calling in, advised my old 
surgeon to make a new application, which he did, and to 
the expense of the total loss of my sight. I now almost 
gave up all hopes of recovery; but not willing wholly to 
despair, attempts were once more made; and by the 
middle of August I could once more discern colors. Hear- 
ing much said of the eye infirmary in the city of New 
York, I resolved to visit that place; and on the thirteenth 
of August, 1 82 1, went on board a steamboat, proceeded 
down the lake two hundred and fifty miles to Buffalo; 
thence in a waggon one hundred and six miles to Geneva;" 
then went on board a boat down the Seneca Lake^ 
crossed the Cayuga Lake into the Erie canal,^' thence to 
Utica, where I took the stage for Albany. After travel- 
ling about forty-five miles, was attacked with fever and 

^ Geneva was originally the site of a populous Seneca village. Lying within 
the Phelps and Gorham Purchase, it was surveyed by them in 1789; settlement 
began immediately, the village containing fifteen houses in 179 1. In 1797 a 
newspaper, Ontario Gazette and Genesee Advertiser, was established. Geneva 
was incorporated, June, 181 2. — Ed. 

^' The Erie Canal was constructed in three sections; the middle section, 
extending from Seneca River to Utica, being completed by 1820. The history 
of the construction of this canal is most interesting. As early as 1808 the legis- 
lature ordered a survey of a feasible route. Two years later a board of canal 
commissioners was established. Unsuccessful in appeahng to the national 
government for aid, DeWitt Clinton presented an elaborate memorial to the 
legislature (1816), signed also by the other commissioners. The bill authoriz- 
ing its construction was passed in April, 181 7, and work was begun at Rome 
on July 4 following. It was completed in 1825 and opened with much cere- 
mony. — Ed. 

1812-1819] Buttrick's Voyages 89 

ague, and was obliged to stop three days; then went on 
board a boat down the Mohawk river to Schenectady," 
then in a waggon to Albany, where I tarried three weeks, 
and then went on board a packet to New York, where I 
arrived the first day of October. I stayed here five days, 
called at the infirmary several times, and conversed with 
different patients who had been there for a considerable 
time; they discouraged me by saying they had found 
little or no relief, and thought there were no hopes for 
me; at the same time adding, that if I would go to Boston, 
I might do much better. I considered the thing well, 
took their advice, was assisted out on the turnpike, where 
on foot and alone I proceeded on through New Haven, 
Hartford and Worcester, and without difficulty found the 
way to Concord, Massachusetts, where I arrived on the 
twentieth of October, after an absence of six years. Some 
time after [58] this I applied to several of the most emi- 
nent physicians and surgeons in Boston, and finally went 
into the General Hospital in that place, where I underwent 
various medical and surgical treatment to no effect; and 
giving up all hope of ever enjoying that light which the 
benevolent Creator has ordained for the happiness and 
comfort of man, I have hitherto spent my time comfort- 
ably, destitute of property, in the company and society of 
my friends. 

** Here was at one time an important Mohawk village, the capital of the 
Five Nations. In 1662 Van Curler and certain other Dutchmen in^ Albany and 
Renselaerswyck bought the land from the Mohawk and founded the present 
city of Schenectady. Being a frontier town, it suffered severely in the early 
Indian wars, and in February, 1690, a general massacre of the inhabitants 
occurred. — Ed. 

Evans's Pedestrious Tour of Four Thousand 
Miles — 1818 

Reprint of the original edition: Concord, New Hampshire, 1819 

IDU SUiiUHtiKuflmil |iimHIAi£lSl'Hi]inn'{ - » II III I !!!l1 1 > IImI 











TIMEJVTAL, 4'c. (J-c. 


"The blast of Oie north U oo the pjaih.',— the (raveltet 
shrinks iu tlie raidst of fiis journey." 





BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the loth day of 
December, 1818, and in the forty-third year of the Inde- 
pendence of the United States of America, ESTWICK 
EVANS, of the said District, has deposited in this Office 
the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as Author, 
in the words following, to wit: 

''A Pedestrious Tour of Four Thousand miles, through 
the western States and Territories, during the winter and 
spring of 181 8; interspersed with brief reflections upon a 
great variety of topics: religious, moral, political, senti- 
mental, &c. &c. By ESTWICK EVANS. 

''The blast of the north is on the plain; the traveller 
shrinks in the midst of his journey." 

In conformity to an act of the Congress of the United 
States, entitled, ''An Act for the encouragement of learn- 
ing, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, 
to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies, during the 
times therein mentioned : and also to an act entitled ' ' An 
Act supplementary to An Act, entitled an act for the en- 
couragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, 
Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such 
copies during the times therein mentioned ; and extending 
the benefits thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving, 
and Etching Historical and other Prints. 

Clerk, of the District of New-Hampshire. 


BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the i8th day of 
January, 1819, and in the forty-third year of the Inde- 
pendence of the United States of America, ESTWICK 
EVANS, of the said District, hath deposited in this Office 
the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as Author, 
in the words following, to wit: 

' ' A Pedestrious Tour of Four Thousand miles, through 
the western States and Territories, during the winter 
and spring of 181 8; interspersed with brief reflections 
upon a great variety of topics: religious, moral, political, 
sentimental, &c. &c. By ESTWICK EVANS. 

"The blast of the north is on the plain; the traveller 
shrinks in the midst of his journey." 

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United 
States, entitled, "An Act for the encouragement of learn- 
ing, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, 
to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies, during the 
times therein mentioned. 

Clerk, of the District of New-Hampshire. 
A true copy of Record, 

Attest, Peyton R. Freeman, Clerk. 

The author is sensible that there are some typographical 
and other errors in the following work; but as they will be 
found few and inconsiderable, it is not deemed worth while 
to notice them. 


An author, however inconsiderable he may be, always 
feels that he has something to say to the public concern- 
ing his work; he must, therefore, have a preface. I think, 
however, that such a course is seldom necessary; the 
world, after all which the writer can express, wUl judge 
impartially of his motives, and of the execution of his 
plan. — My introduction will be very brief. 

In justice to myself I ought to observe, that until after 
finishing my tour, I did not entertain the least idea of 
publishing an account of it; and that I have been induced 
to take this step by the request of many of my fellow-cit- 

It will be readily perceived, that a work of this kind does 
not admit of the display of much reasoning or erudition; 
and I shall speak as little of myself as will be consistent 
with the nature of the publication. This little volume 
cannot possibly merit much praise; and I trust that it 
will escape unqualified censure. 

Portsmouth, N. H. i8i8. 


The supposed singularity of the tour, an account of 
which I am about to write, suggests a few preHminary 

Customs and manners often produce more influence 
than principle. Whilst the former are strictly adhered to, 
the latter is often violated. Here we see the comparative 
influence of self-reproach and the reproach of the world: 
a deviation from custom, in relation to modes of living 
and acting, may excite animadversion. We shrink from 
the unfriendly gaze of the multitude ; and tremble even at 
the undeserved censure of the superficial and ill-natured: 
— at the same time we disregard the condemnation of 
our own hearts, and endeavour to cancel the obligations 
of morality by the good, yet false, opinion of the world. 

But it is readily acknowledged, that unless excentricity 
ought always to be avoided; it invariably proceeds from 
error in taste, from uncontrouled feeling, or from mental 
imbecility. The dispositions and powers of men, however, 
are various; and the beaten track is not always the field 
for improvement. 

Civil society is not without its disadvantages. Whilst 
it adds to the information, and polishes the manners of 
man, it lessens the vigour of his mind and the generosity 
of his heart. He no longer experiences the sublime inspir- 
ations of Nature. A creature of habit and the slave of 
form, she will not [6] deign to visit him. From the fac- 
titious grandeur of cities, she wings her eagle flight, to 
communicate to the uncontaminated children of her 
forests her instruction and blessing. 

I02 Rarly Western Travels [Vol.8 

In the savage state there is, no doubt, much individual 
depravity; as great a degree of it, however, may be found 
in the most civiHzed communities. But in the latter are 
never witnessc-d that nobleness of spirit, that eloquence of 
thought, that force of expression, and that wonderful 
aspect which the former affords. 

It is true, that the aggregate advantages of civil society 
are much greater than those of a state of nature ; and how 
happy should we be if we could ingraft the instruction, and 
impress the polish of civilization upon the lofty virtues of 
untutored life. But, with us, courage gives place to cow- 
ardice ; and the native disinterestedness of man, the source 
of his greatest virtues and highest happiness, yields to the 
calculations of meanness and fraud. Even in public life 
we please ourselves with the tinsel of narrow views, whilst 
we disregard those great principles of national policy 
which alone can render us truly great. 

I have often been questioned as to the objects of my 
tour; and I am willing to gratify a reasonable and friendly 
curiosity. My views were various. Besides the ordinary 
advantages of travel, and of becoming acquainted with a 
country comparatively but little known, I wished to ac- 
quire the simplicity, native feelings, and virtues of savage 
life; to divest myself of the factitious habits, prejudices 
and imperfections of civilization; to become a citizen of 
the world; and to find, amidst the solitude and grandeur 
of the western wilds, more correct views of human nature 
and of the true interests of man. The season of snows 
was preferred, that I might experience the pleasure of 
suffering, and the novelty of danger. [7] On the second of 
February, 1818, 1 left the residence of my friends, in Hop- 
kinton, New-Hampshire, prepared, according to the fron- 
tispiece, to meet the inclemency of the season, the hostili- 
ties either of man or beast, and also to provide myself, in 
the way of game, with provisions. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 103 

It may gratify some to know the particulars of my 
habiliament : Mine was a close dress consisting of buffalo 
skins. On my shoulders were epaulettes made of the long 
hair of the animal; and they were for the purpose of 
shielding the shoulder from rain. Around my neck and 
under one arm was strapped a double leather case, with 
brass chargers, for shot and ball; and under the other 
arm a case for powder strapped in the same way, and also 
having a brass charger. Around the waist was a belt, with 
a brace of pistols, a dirk, two side cases for pistol balls, 
and a case for moulds and screw. Also around the waist 
was buckled an Indian apron, which fell behind: it was 
about eighteen inches square, covered with fine bear skin, 
trimmed with fur, and having over the lower part of it a 
net for game. This apron contained a pocket-compass, 
maps, journal, shaving materials, a small hatchet, patent 
fire works, &c. My cap and gloves were made of fur, 
my moccasons were of deer- skin, and on my shoulder I 
carried a six-feet rifle. The partners of my toils and 
dangers were two faithful dogs. 

In this situation I arrived at Detroit on the 20th of 
March. My dogs, however, were destroyed by wolves, 
on the night of the tenth of that month, in the vicinity of 
the Miami Swamp. 

I had, in my juvenile days, voluntarily accustomed my- 
self to fatigues, hardships, and privations of every kind; 
but not having recently exercised much, the snow being 
deep, and my dress and baggage heavy, my fatigue, in the 
early stages of my tour, [8] was excessive : My first day's 
travel was only eight miles. In a short time, however, 
my daily progress was from fifteen to twenty miles, through 
trackless snows and over tremendous mountains. The 
universal curiosity which my appearance excited was op- 
pressive; but I had fortified my mind by reflection, and 
endeavoured to present to all an aspect at once grave and 

1 04 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

mild. In the course of my tour, I met, as might have 
been expected, a great variety of character; from the sav- 
age of the wood to the savage of civil life ; and I some- 
times found it necessary to appeal to my arms, for the 
defence of the privileges of the traveller and the rights of 
the man. 

My title page promises reflections upon various sub- 
jects. I hope they will neither be too frequent nor too 
lengthy. The study of man, both as it respects the ab- 
stract principles of his nature and the almost infinite 
variety of modes in which these principles, through the 
influences of education and customs, develope themselves, 
should be one great object of the traveller. In order 
to become well acquainted with these principles, he must 
frequently and maturely examine his own heart. Here 
alone can he ascertain the secret springs of action; here 
alone can he define and classify the passions; and lastly, 
here alone can he find the means of their controul, or of 
giving to them a proper direction. Much information, 
in relation to this subject, may be collected from books, 
and much by travel; but he who is ignorant of his own 
heart must be ignorant of human nature. 

In my way to the interior I passed through Amherst;* 
and reached this place towards evening, during a heavy 
fall of snow. I had been anticipating the pleasure of 
visiting the family of Judge C. who reside there; but the 
ladies of the family, supposing me to be an indian, barred 
the doors against me. I [9] soon, however, obtained a 
herald, and then the castle gates were elegantly thrown 
open. On account of this little adventure, which arose 

' Amherst, on the Souhegan River, twenty-eight miles south of Concord, is 
situated on the tract of land granted by the general court of Massachusetts 
(1733), to the families of soldiers who had served in King Philip's War (1674- 
76). It was incorporated in 1760, and named in honor of Lord Jeffrey Amherst, 
at that time commander general in America. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 105 

principally from the lateness of the afternoon and from my 
being covered with snow, some captious scribblers took 
the liberty, in the papers of the day, to be impudent. 
Could I condescend to be offended with them, I should 
here tender my forgiveness. 

For the above anecdote I am indebted, principally, to 
the interesting Miss L*******, whose vivid imagination, 
aided by the story of the giants, magically converted her 
habitation into an embattled tower, and gave to a harm- 
less knight a consequence which he did not deserve. 

Amherst is a considerable inland town. The plain 
upon which the village is situated is very spacious; and 
some of its buildings are large and elegant. 

From this place I proceeded to Milford,* the residence 
of my friend P. whose love of principle, independence of 
character, and talents, entitle him to much consideration. 
With him I passed some pleasant hours. The appear- 
ance of this town is pleasant. The contrast between its 
extensive intervales, and the rise of ground upon which its 
bridge, manufactories, and village are situated, renders its 
aspect quite interesting. 

The distance between Amherst and Milford is only a few 
miles; but in travelling from the former to the latter I 
found the snow deep and stiffened by rain, and the road 

The next day I began to ascend the mountains 
of New-Hampshire : — my native hills ! — Oh, may they 
be the everlasting abode of Liberty! The weather here 
was variable, the snow in some drifts ten feet deep, 
my fatigue extreme, and my health impaired. The towns 

' Milford is on the Souhegan, five miles southwest of Amherst. It is located 
partly on the Amherst Grant, partly on the Duxbury School Farm (land granted 
to Duxbury by the general court of Massachusetts to aid in establishing schools). 
Settlement was begun about 1750, and the town was incorporated in January, 
1794. — Ed. 

I o6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

of Milton and Temple," [lo] situated in this part of the 
country, are pleasant ; and the scenery about them highly 
picturesque. Several branches of the Sowhegan in the 
former, and the streams which pass into this river from the 
westerly part of the latter, add much to the variety and 
beauty of the prospect. 

The next evening I found myself in Marlborough. The 
weather had become severe, and my ability to travel 
without fatigue was increasing. The mountainous aspect 
of the country, the front of my cap, &c. whitened by frost, 
and the creaking of the snow beneath my step, reminded 
me of Wallace and Tell; those champions of freedom, 
whose physical nature was as rugged as the rocks which 
they inhabited, and whose hearts, at the same time, could 
glow with generosity, or soften with compassion. The 
Grand Monadnock here attracted particular attention. It 
is more than two thousand feet in height, and is remarkable 
for its cave and its fossils. Peterborough and Dublin, the 
towns between Temple and Marlborough, are interest- 
ingly situated. The former is very mountainous, and its 
numerous brooks render it a fine grazing township. A 
principal branch of the Contoocook passes near the centre 
of the town, and here unites with Goose river flowing from 
Dublin. The latter place is exceedingly well watered, and 
its two villages, together with some scattered houses, make 
a pleasant appearance. 

The coldness of the weather continued to increase. I 
passed on through Keene* and Chesterfield. The ap- 

' Milton is a misprint for Wilton, a town on the Souhegan, nine miles west 
of Amherst. 

Temple is three miles west of Wilton. — Ed. 

* Keene, fifty-five miles southwest of Concord, has become one of the most 
important manufacturing cities in New Hampshire. It was first settled in 
1734; but Indian attacks becoming frequent, was abandoned from 1747 to 1753. 

Marlborough, five miles southeast of Keene, is part of a grant made by 
Massachusetts (1751), to Timothy Dwight and sixty-one associates. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 107 

pearance of the former excited much interest. It is 
almost an inland city; and promises to make a very con- 
spicuous figure. It is also, evidently, a place of much 
business; and from the appearance of some of its build- 
ings, together with what little knowledge I possess of its 
society, I should suppose [11] it a place of considerable 
polish and refinement. Chesterfield too is a very pretty 
town. The undulatory aspect of its hills, the quiet of its 
vales, and the neatness of its village made a very pleas- 
ant impression upon my mind. 

Soon after leaving Keene I passed over high and steep 
hills. Some of them were, apparently, several miles in 
length. In one of the vallies of these mountains an amus- 
ing incident occurred. It is a trifle, and may be thought 
not worth mentioning; I feel a pleasure, however, in doing 
justice to good nature: I met three six feet fellows in a 
single sleigh. They were, probably, going to Keene in 
their best. There had fallen, the night before, a light 
snow of a few inches; and their horse, not fancying my 
appearance, took it into his head, notwithstanding I gave 
him the whole road, to sheer against the wall, and to turn 
all these weU-looking grenadiers into the snow. I was pre- 
paring to make an apology; but it was unnecessary: the 
good nature of these liberal men furnished for them and 
myself a hearty laugh. 

During the following day I passed Connecticut river; 
and entering Brattleborough, Vermont, proceeded to the 
further part of the adjoining town.^ The appearance of 
the country just before my crossing the Connecticut, was 
truly interesting. My course was around a mountain 
about half way between its summit and the river below. 

' Fort Dummer was erected on the present site of Brattleborough as early 
as 1724. The land in that region was granted by George II (1753) to certain 
men of Massachusetts, among them William Brattle, after whom the town was 
named. — Ed. 

io8 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

It was the sabbath day ; and the mildness of the christian 
religion seemed to breathe around. The rays of the sun, 
with a kind of vivid obscurity, darted through the wood; 
and the solemn, yet cheerful, gospel bell of a neighbouring 
villa spake of the pure and peaceful communion of saints. 
Even the game seemed to know it was the sabbath, and 
did not shun my path. Perhaps it was wrong in me thus 
to travel. I had [12] never done so before. My situation, 
however, was peculiar, and I endeavored to confine my 
thoughts to the appropriate views of this holy season. 

I am now upon the borders of my own peculiar country. 
A single step carries me from New Hampshire ; and when 
I shall again behold her pleasant hills is uncertain — 
Perhaps never ! 

The term banishment is, in this part of the world, sel- 
dom employed ; and its introduction here may appear un- 
meaning. But those who have been exiled by their coun- 
try, by misfortune, or by themselves, will hear the word 
with a glow of interest, and find, in their own hearts, its 
true and ready definition. Is there no exile beyond the 
limits of our land ? — no spirit which sighs for the scenes 
of childhood? — where the light of Heaven was first 
beheld, and the impression of thought first created ? — 
where friendship first warmed, and love etherialized, and 
patriotism fired ? Oh ! if prayer is heard on High, it must 
be the exile's prayer. 

The tears of patriotism need no apology. The name of 
New-Hampshire is identified with that of freedom. Her 
mountains were never intended for slavery; and tyrants, 
I know, could not exist in the presence of her people. 
Were she just to herself, she would always excite fear in 
her enemies and admiration in her friends. Her institu- 
tions are dictated by the spirit of self-government, and 
her will is the supreme law of the land. Her citizens are 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 109 

hardy, intelligent and virtuous; her climate is salubrious 
and her soil fertile; her hills are covered with cattle, and 
her vallies wave with grain. Industry, economy, and 
mechanical genius are conspicuous characteristics of her 
people; and a thousand streams, intersecting the whole 
country, tender to the manufacturing interest their pow- 
erful agencies. In point of hospitality too she [13] is second 
to none; and the virtue, benevolence, and beauty of her 
daughters are, at once, the inspiration and the reward of 

Within a few years I have visited nearly all the states 
and territories of United America. I have noticed their 
respective moral and physical character, and have viewed 
them in relation to the ordinary causes of the rise and fall 
of nations. Should the freedom of this country ever 
perish, one of her last intrenchments will be in the moun- 
tains of New-Hampshire. Her citizens, however, must, 
by adhering to her constitution, and by proper systems of 
education, preserve in their minds a knowledge of the 
first principles of civil liberty, a due sense of the impor- 
tance of morality, and a lively interest in the transactions 
of the Revolution. The whole history of that great event 
should, with us, constitute an indispensable part of educa- 
tion. But in speaking much of its battles, we must think 
more of its principles. The latter were so perfectly cor- 
rect ; and the manner of acting upon them was so candid, 
so humane, so firm, so steady, and so persevering, that no 
political event, since the creation of man, merits half so 
much admiration as the achievement of our independence. 

Before leaving New-Hampshire I may say a word re- 
specting Connecticut river. It is one of the most pleasant 
and useful rivers in the world. It generally preserves a 
distance of from eighty to one hundred miles from the 
ocean, and meanders through a very fertile country to the 

1 1 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

distance of more than three hundred miles. It waters 
New-Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connec- 
ticut, and at length passes into Long-Island Sound. 

I am now in Vermont." This is a noble state, and may 
well be termed the peculiar sister of New-Hampshire. 
The same mountainous and fertile [14] country; the same 
moral and physical energies characterize them both. 
Should their liberties ever be assailed, they will sympathet- 
ically unite their efforts, and triumph or fall together. In 
both of these states I met with Revolutionary men, and 
they were still the champions of liberty. The tranquil 
charms of rural avocations had preserved the purity and 
peace of their bosoms; whilst the grandeur of their moun- 
tains, and the rudeness of their storms had continually 
reminded them of the blasts of tyranny, and of the uncon- 
querable spirit of freedom. 

In both of these states I experienced unlimited hospi- 
tality and kindness. Money could not have purchased so 
rich a boon. Amidst their lofty hills, covered with deep 
snows and assailed by piercing winds, I found the humble 
cottager; and in the benevolence of his aspect, and the 
hospitality of his board, I seemed to hear the chorus in 
Gustavus Vasa: — ' 

"Stranger, cease through storms to roam; 
Welcome to the cotter's home; 
Though no courtly pomp be here, 
Yet, my welcome is sincere." 

' From Brattleborough to Albany, Evans followed a much travelled route. 
As early as 1774, a road had been made from Albany to Bennington, thence 
directly east for forty miles to Brattleborough. A hne of stages was estab- 
lished in 18 14, which made the trip between the two places in one day. It 
was considered the easiest and safest route to Boston. — Ed. 

^ A play written by Henry Brooke (1706-83), containing reflections on the 
Prime Minister (Robert Walpole). It was not allowed to be put on the stage 
in 1739, but later was printed by the author, the Prince of Wales subscribing 
for four hundred copies. Dr. Johnson vindicated it and scored the govern- 
ment for attempting its suppression. — Ed. ^3^ 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 1 1 1 

In some parts of these states one may travel many- 
miles without meeting a habitation ; and during deep snows 
and severe weather there is no little danger of perishing. 

In passing the Green Mountains, I experienced a very 
narrow escape. The weather was remarkably severe, and 
scarcely any one thought travelling practicable. The 
wind being high the snow was whirled in every direction, 
and the road was trackless. About 4 o'clock in the after- 
noon I passed a house, and, imprudently, omitted to 
inquire as to the distance to the next dwelling. Fortu- 
nately, [15] however, I met, after travelling three miles, 
an express from a neighbouring village ; and he informed 
me that the next habitation was at the distance of two 
miles. To this circumstance I owe, probably, the preser- 
vation of my life. 

About dark I arose a steep hill, and found myself in an 
open and uncovered situation. The weather was in- 
tensely cold, and the wind very high. I realized that 
owing to the depth of the snow, the consequent difficulty 
of obtaining fuel, and the probable chill which I should 
experience after ceasing to travel, that the wood, from 
which I had just emerged, could not afford me sufficient 
shelter. I should, however, have resorted to its partial 
protection in preference to exposing myself to an unshel- 
tered opening, had I not fully presumed, from the informa- 
tion above noticed, that a habitation was near. There 
was not a moment for indecision. I marked a central 
course, redoubled my efforts, and in a half hour reached 
a comfortable hut. Here, upon taking off my cap, I found 
my ears frozen to an almost incredible degree. 

It is high time for me to acknowledge some obligations, 
which have a particular claim to my gratitude, not only 
as it respects these stages of my tour, but throughout the 
whole of that part of it which was enlivened by civilization. 

I I 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

Benevolence and kindness are peculiar characteristics 
of the female heart. The mildness of her nature com- 
ports with the delicacy of her appearance; and well may 
Charity always be represented in feminine apparel. Dur- 
ing my tour, the hospitality of the husband was always 
more than seconded by that of the wife and daughter. 

Such are my respect for, and admiration of the female 
character; so high an opinion do I entertain both of her 
understanding and heart; and so narrow [i6] are the views 
of many, even in this enlightened age, in relation to these 
particulars, that I may be permitted, in this little work, to 
become her advocate. A thousand arguments in her 
behalf challenge my attention; but I must not transgress 
the proper limits of incidental remark. 

The influence of woman, in civilized life, has not yet 
reached its acme. The effects of her ancient condition 
are not entirely removed. Hereditary ignorance and op- 
pression still partially obstruct her intellectual progress. 
She has, in times past, not only had to contend with an 
almost entire seclusion from the world, where alone theo- 
retical and practical knowledge are blended for the im- 
provement of the human mind, but the other sex, uncon- 
scious of moral force and influenced only by a sense of 
physical strength, have, in various parts of the globe, 
treated her as an inferior. Oh, wretched pride ! — oh, dis- 
graceful ignorance ! — oh, vulgar barbarity ! — the Dove of 
Paphos is oppressed by the Egyptian Vulture. 

Even in Greece and Rome the state of woman, to speak 
generally, was degrading. She was suffered to share but 
little in the general intercourse of life ; and Metellus Nu- 
midicus, in an oration to the people of Rome, speaks of 
her with contempt. Yet some exultingly inquire, — where 
are your female philosophers and poets of antiquity ? 

Greece and Rome were the principal theatres of ancient 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour i i 3 

literature. Had the men of those times and countries 
been treated as the females were, we should have looked 
in vain for those galaxys of genius and erudition, which 
are the constant theme of the modern world. Had this 
been the case the Peripatetic Philosopher would not have 
written, the Mantuan Bard would not have sung. Yet, 
even here, Corinna was the instructress of Pindar, and in 
competition [17] with him obtained the prize. Mamaea 
too was so distinguished for wisdom, that the worthy and 
renowned Ulpian thought it an honor to be appointed one 
of her counsellors. Other cases might be introduced ; but 
this topic is leading me too far from my main subject. 
One example more, however, shall be mentioned. The 
mighty genius of Zenobia rose above the indolence inci- 
dent to the climate and manners of Asia. Her adminis- 
tration was guided by the most judicious maxims. She 
was too a linguist and historian, and expatiated upon the 
beauties of Homer and Plato, with the learned and elo- 
quent Longinus. 

Perhaps I may venture a little further. The peculiar 
sphere of the understanding is mathematics; and because 
there have not been great mathematicians among the fe- 
male sex, she, to be sure, is to be deprived of her proper 
station in the department of intelligence. 

Would men have been mathematicians if their education 
had been like that of woman ? Surely not. Why then 
should woman, whose sphere is foreign to this pursuit, be 
represented as incapable of successfully engaging in it? 
Besides, many men of the first genius, and of the most vig- 
orous intellect, have entertained an aversion to mathemat- 
ics amounting to an incapacity to attend to them with 
success. The learned Gibbon declares that he entirely 
lost those seasons in which he was obliged to prosecute this 
branch of study ; and Gray, in his time the first scholar in 

1 1 4 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

Europe, asserts that if mathematics would insure him 
wealth and fame, he would relinquish its advantages for 
the charms of general literature. 

There is a diversity of taste among mankind; and the 
same privilege of enjoying it without censure should be 
granted to both sexes. The great mathematician Archi- 
medes had but little inclination [i8] for any other branch 
of learning than geometry; and Gray could not endure 

There is also a diversity of talents among both sexes. 
The logical, learned, and eloquent Cicero faUed in his at- 
tempts in poetry. How unreasonable would it be to 
consider him inferior to our great female poets on this ac- 
count ! and, of course, how unfair to deny strength of in- 
tellect to woman, because she is not conspicuous for her 
knowledge of mathematics ! 

A sense of propriety, relative to this digression, con- 
strains me to conclude. In what respect, I ask, is woman 
inferior to the other sex ? Heroism is a test of intellectual 
vigour; and woman has evinced superlative bravery, by 
a sudden transition from the gentle avocations of domes- 
tic life to the battle's rage. An enlightened fortitude 
also argues strength of intellect. Here let men admire 
what they can never imitate : how much physical suffering, 
and how much anguish of spirit are peculiar to the female 
character ! yet, resignation and hope are the cherub com- 
panions of her tribulation. 

Modem times are throwing wonderful light upon this 
subject; and are developing those astonishing combina- 
tions of female sentiment and genius, which in past ages 
scintUated through the gloom of barbarism. A splendid 
list of names illustrative of this position might be here in- 
troduced ; but the whole list would be too long, and a selec- 
tion would be difficult. Sentiment is emphatically the 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 115 

highest sphere of genius; and it is the sphere where the 
heart becomes the great magician of intellectual life. Men 
are indebted to woman for what they possess of this prin- 
ciple; and until she made them acquainted with it they 
were barbarians. 

Wherever I stopped, in my course through the settled 
parts of the country, I was much pleased [19] with the inter- 
est which my appearance excited in little children. There 
was a conflict exhibited in their countenances between the 
fears implanted by domestic education, and the native 
fondness of man for the hunter state. By my assuming, 
however, the aspect and the smile of civilization, they 
would come to my arms of fur, and listen attentively to the 
simple stories of the chase. Afterwards, they would re- 
ward my kindness to them by more solid attentions to my 

In travelling from Connecticut River to Bennington, I 
passed through a part of Marlborough, Wilmington, Reeds- 
bury, Stanford, and Woodford. Whilst in the latter place 
the weather was severe beyond a parallel. When, how- 
ever, in Brattleborough, which lies immediately upon the 
river, the weather was much more moderate. 

Whilst upon the Green Mountains my thoughts were 
particularly directed to the days of the Revolution, when, 
in the language of a British Chief, the sons of New-Hamp- 
shire and Vermont hung like a cloud upon his left. Here 
too I remembered that thunderbolt of war, the veteran 
Stark, in whose heart dwelt the very genius of his country, 
and who discomfited her enemies by the strength of his 
native hills. 

On these mountains my attention was attracted by the 
appearance of a thick fall of snow during a clear sunshine. 
This appearance is not common here ; and proceeds, I pre- 
sume, from the little influence which the sun produces 

1 1 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

upon the state of the atmosphere in this situation. On 
the west side of these mountains the snow was not so deep 
as on the east side; and I apprehend that this is usually 
the case. 

Within about two miles beyond this lofty ridge, Ben- 
nington is situated.^ This town presents an ancient [20] 
aspect, and appears unflourishing ; it is situated, however, 
upon a fertile tract of country, and contains several hand- 
some buildings. The number of its houses is perhaps two 
hundred. Mount Anthony, in the south part of the town, 
makes a pleasant appearance ; and the town itself is ren- 
dered interesting by the two famous battles, fought a little 
west of it, on the i6th of August, 1777. In these battles 
the celebrated General Stark acquired imperishable fame. 
Owing to the severity of the weather I did not visit the 
noted cave of Mount Anthony. 

From Bennington I proceeded through Hoosuck, Pitts- 
town, Troy, and Albany. From the former to the latter 
place, the distance is about thirty-j&ve miles. 

In passing through Pittstown the weather was still 
severe; and night having overtaken me before I could 
reach a public house, I was under the necessity of lodging 
in a log hut. The family were very poor; but the wealth 
of Kings could not purchase their virtues. As is the case 
with many other honest people, they had experienced a 
series of misfortunes which ultimately reduced them to 
penury. Two years before the period of my seeing them, 
their mills, the principal part of their property, had been 
carried away by a freshet ; and a year after this event, their 
dwelling was consumed, with all its contents. Yet these 
good people were cheerful, and their poverty sat gracefully 

• Bennington was the first township granted within the present state of Ver- 
mont, being chartered by Benning Wentworth, governor of New Hampshire, 
in 1749. Settlement was not begun, however, until the fall of 1761. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 117 

upon them. They were unable to furnish me with a bed, 
a comfort with which I had learned to dispense, but very 
readily shared with me their last loaf. For their services 
they charged nothing; and it was with difficulty that I 
persuaded them to take compensation. 

The blessings of poverty are neither few nor small. It 
attaches an extraordinary interest to the most common 
acquisitions; and, when there is little [21] or no apprehen- 
sion of want, it furnishes a constant source of pleasing 
anticipation. Under such circumstances, parents and chil- 
dren experience their happiest moments. Mutual love, and 
mutual gratulation, here heighten and sanctify every ex- 
pression of the care and bounty of Providence. — There is 
something in virtuous poverty, which speaks of treasures 
laid up in Heaven. 

In entering Troy I left Lansingburgh on my right. The 
former place is exceedingly compact and flourishing, and 
extends between one and two miles on the east bank of the 
Hudson. On the other side of the river, at the distance 
of six miles, Albany is situated. 

This city, in relation to the state, ranks next to that of 
New- York; but its appearance is far from being elegant. 
The streets are generally narrow and crooked; and its 
numerous buildings in the Gothic style give to it an ancient 
and unpolished aspect. It is, evidently, however, a place 
of great trade; and must, in the nature of things, rapidly 
increase in wealth and population. The back country is 
extensive and fertile; and the public spirit of the state of 
New- York is affording every facility to the inland trans- 
portation of its produce. 

The variety of people in Albany is great. The Dutch 
here still make a considerable figure; but the Americans 
are more numerous. This place has received many names. 
Its scite was originally called Aurania ; and the town itself 

1 1 8 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

was afterwards named Beverwych, Fort Orange, William- 
stadt, and, upon its capitulation to the English in 1664, 
it received its present appellation. This city, next to 
Jamestown, in Virginia, is the oldest in the United States. 

This place contains many large public buildings, among 
which is the city-hall, hospital, armoury, [22] &c. There 
are here also some elegant dwelling houses; but I should 
not suppose the city, from its appearance, the residence of 
much taste or erudition. It contains, however, what some 
may consider an equivalent : — many families of wealth and 
fashion. The population of the place is about twelve 

After leaving Albany I shaped my course for Niagara 
Falls by the way of Cherry Valley. From the city there 
are two roads; the left hand one leading to the last men- 
tioned place, and the right hand one to Schenectady. The 
great Western Turnpike extends from Schenectady, lying 
on the south bank of the Mohawk, and sixteen miles from 
Albany, to Buffalo, a distance of about three hundred 
miles. The two roads above mentioned intersect about 
one hundred and twenty miles from Albany.' Upon both 
of them are many flourishing villages; and the produce 
which is conveyed from the interior to Albany, Troy, and 
other places in the state, is immense. 

The state of New- York is very conspicuous for her pub- 
lic spirit. She is affording every facility, within the grasp 
of her mighty genius and resources, to her inland com- 
merce. In arts, and arms, and internal improvement, she 

' The Great Western Turnpike did not pass through Schenectady, but 
was the one that led to Cherry Valley, while the Schenectady road connected 
with the state road, which extended to Buffalo. Strictly speaking, the two 
roads did not meet but ran nearly parallel to Lake Erie; however, a turnpike 
leading from Cherry Valley to Saline (Syracuse), intersected the state road at 
about the distance stated. Evans took this path. For the Great Western and 
State roads, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, notes 2 and 12. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 1 1 o 

is already a Rome in miniature; and her grand Canal will 
vie with those of China and the Russian Empire. 

In travelling over a part of the great western turnpike; 
and in collecting information as to the settlements and bus- 
iness both here and on the Mohawk, I was led to make 
some statistical calculations, the general result of which, 
together with some additional reflections, I transcribe from 
my journal. 

The state of New York is, of itself, a mighty republic. 
Her moral and physical energies; her agriculture, [23] 
manufactures, and commerce; and her individual enter- 
prise and public spirit, render her omnipotent. She could 
contend alone and unassisted with Great Britain. What 
then is the aggregate force of all our states and territories 7 
The contemplation of their potential, and even probable 
physical power, within a short succession of years, pre- 
sents such a manifold ratio as to overwhelm the boldest 

But the moral energies of the country will, no doubt, 
become proportionably less. The friends of political vir- 
tue, however, must not be discouraged. The moral hero 
can do much towards stemming the torrent of political 
corruption. Besides, the vast surface over which the ele- 
ments of this corruption will spread themselves, will ren- 
der it, for a long course of time, comparatively harmless; 
and beyond this period, the influence of some Heavenly 
star may give to ambition and the love of power a purer 
spirit and a nobler aim. 

In relation to this topic, the prevailing spirit of emigra- 
tion, from the maritime to the inland frontier, will have a 
very beneficial influence. In a public point of view, great 
and permanent advantages will arise from the settlement 
of our western states and territories. But individuals 
from the east are not always benefitted by a removal. The 

1 20 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

principal advantages arising from such a step, are the 
profits on the purchase of new lands, and better crops ob- 
tained with less labour. The disadvantages are numer- 
ous. Those who can, by their industry, live well at home, 
will act wisely in remaining where they are. By a re- 
moval they lose a climate to which they are accustomed, 
good society, an opportunity to educate their children, 
and scenes to which their hearts will often fondly turn — 
The sons of New-Hampshire never forget her mountains ! 

[24] I shall speak more fully upon the subject of em- 
igration in another place. 

I may here introduce some facts relative to the grand 
canal in the State of New York.*" The object of this 
great undertaking is to facilitate the inland commerce of 
the State, by uniting the waters of Lake Erie with those of 
the Hudson. The former are much higher than the latter; 
but still the labour and expence necessary to complete the 
undertaking, will prove to be immense. To the State of 
New- York, however, such a work scarcely requires an 
effort. Her almost inexhaustible resources, directed by 
the genius and energy of her Clinton, could accomplish a 
hundred times as much. The Canal passes in the direc- 
tion of Genessee river, and Seneca and Cayuga lakes ; and 
will turn much of the trade of the west from Montreal to 
the city of New- York. 

Soon after leaving Albany I met with Colonel P. for- 
merly an officer under General Wayne, during his famous 
expedition against the Indians." From this gentleman I 
obtained many interesting facts; and spent a pleasant 
evening in conversing with him upon the subject of 

'" For a brief account of the Erie Canal, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, note 
37 — Ed. 

" Wayne's campaign, 1793-94, terminated in victory at the decisive battle 
of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794), where the confederated Indians under 
Little Turtle were completely routed. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 121 

expatriation. This subject involves an abstract ques- 
tion of principle; and should be settled by the United 
States without the least reference to the opinion of 
civilians, or the practice of other nations. It is humili- 
ating to see with what reverence we turn in relation 
to this subject, to the opinion of Blackstone, and to 
the contradictory positions of the British Government. 
The United States is the place, above all others, for cor- 
rect opinions, upon questions involved in the great science 
of morals, as far as it respects the natural rights of indi- 
viduals, the necessary modification of those rights in civil 
society, and the rights of nations as collective moral agents. 
Europe ever has been, [25] and still is a school of wrong; 
and those who are instructed by her participate in the 
sophistry of her reasoning, the tyranny of her views, and the 
inconsistency of her practice. The question of expatria- 
tion, is a question involving individual right, for the de- 
fence of which the aggregate strength of the whole com- 
munity is guaranteed. This question, in the United 
States, arises from the claims of other nations to those of 
their subjects, who have left the territory to which they 
belonged without violating any municipal law upon the 
subject. The United States should protect all within her 
jurisdiction, whether upon her territory or under her flag, 
unless some municipal regulation of the adverse party in 
the question, shall have rendered the individual concerned 
incapable of acquiring the right to protection from the de- 
fending power. These principles should be adhered to 
for three reasons: the United States have a right to do so; 
they are bound by the civil compact, which renders pro- 
tection and obedience inseparable, to do so ; and it is their 
duty as a collective moral being to guard any individual, 
not under the jurisdiction of another sovereignty, from 
arbitrary power. 

12 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

Such a course is dictated by the eternal and omnipotent 
principles of justice; and therefore no law of nations, 
which is a rule created or supposed by man, can resist 
them. Even that law which civilians call the voluntary 
law of nations, cannot, in relation to this subject, exon- 
erate a government from those obligations which result 
from the social compact ; because the question is grounded 
in the very germ of civil society; and the welfare of the 
whole community of nations, so far from requiring in this 
case an adherence to this law, renders it, upon its own 
principles, entirely inoperative. 

[26] The internal law of nations does not militate with 
the above principles, because it requires only what is fair 
and conscientious. The customary law of nations must 
yield to those older and better rules which are dictated by 
justice. And as to the conventional law of nations, it rests 
upon the terms of contracts in subordination to previously 
existing and indispensable duties. 

On the 1 2th of February I passed through Guelderland, 
Princeton, Schoharie, and Carlisle; and on the following 
day through Sharon, Cherry Valley, and Warren.*^ Scho- 
harie is one of the wealthiest inland farming towns in the 
state of N. York. 

The weather still continued remarkably severe; but my 
dress was so comfortable, that I had no occasion for a 

" Evans was now passing through the settlements of the Schoharie and 
upper Susquehanna valleys. They had constituted the western frontier of 
New York in the period of the Revolutionary War, and in consequence had 
borne the brunt of the Iroquois and Loyalist attacks under the leadership of 
Joseph Brant. The Susquehanna Valley was virtually reconverted into a vdl- 
demess, the most important single attack being the Cherry Valley massacre, 
November ii, 1778. The first settlers had been chiefly Palatine Germans and 
Scotch-Irish; those that repeopled the country after the war were almost en- 
tirely from New England. See Halsey, OH New York Frontier (New York, 
1901). — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 123 

During my whole tour through the settled parts of the 
country, I found a constant source of amusement in the 
curiosity and variety of observation, which my appearance 
excited. I must, however, confess that I often wished 
myself less conspicuous. 

It is in the moment of surprise that the human character 
most fully developes itself; and in travelling, during the 
constant operation of this cause, one may acquire much 
knowledge of the almost infinite variety of disposition 
which exists among mankind. I met, in my course, with 
every shade of character, from the man of reading to the 
totally ignorant; and from the real gentleman to the rude 
and vulgar. 

It may amuse a portion of my readers to know some of 
the various impressions which were made by my appear- 
ance, and the receptions which I experienced. 

People seldom knew from whence I came, or what was 
my place of destination; and surprise and speculation 
were universal. Speculation was as various [27] as the 
dispositions and capacities of individuals. — Some hon- 
oured me with the idea that I was Bonaparte in disguise; 
and some secretly suggested that I was a Wizard : — 

"Who prowl'd the country far and near, 
Bewitch'd the children of the peasants, 
Dry'd up the cows, and lam'd the deer. 
And suck'd the eggs, and kill'd the pheasants." 

Some too, imagined me an Icelander; and some a British 
Spy. A few treated me with rudeness, many in a very 
gentlemanly manner, and some, not knowing what to make 
of my appearance, conferred upon me the title of General, 
and invited me to drink with them. 

With respect to the first class, I made a point of taking 
no notice of them, when I could with propriety avoid it; 
but when I could not, I always made an example of them 

I 24 Karly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

upon the spot. Such men seldom possess even animal 
courage; and there are very few, even of their associates, 
who are not pleased to see them punished. 

I may here observe, that I was impressed by the general 
ignorance, with respect to the manners and customs of 
other nations, which appeared to exist in the civilized 
places through which I passed; and especially in and 
about Albany. 

It is well known, that in Russia and many other coun- 
tries in the north of Europe, people generally dress, more 
or less, in furs; and there are some instances of such a 
practice, even in the Canadas. — These facts, connected 
with the severity of the weather which prevailed during 
the early stages of my tour, might, one would think, have 
rendered a suit of fur a less general object of surprise. 
Severe as our winters are, I think a garment or two of 
Buffalo or some other warm skin, to be worn occasionally, 
[28] would, to say nothing of comfort, save many a man 
from rheumatism, and even from being frozen to death. 
It is only a year or two, since the stage driver from Albany 
to Bennington, froze and fell from his seat. The passen- 
gers were not apprized of the event, until the horses had 
proceeded several miles. The power of frost upon human 
life is astonishing. In an unsuspecting moment the blood 
chills in the veins and ceases to move. The memorable 
winter of 1709 saw two thousand men, under the cele- 
brated Charles the Xllth, fall dead with cold in one day. 

Many other similar instances might be mentioned. As 
to Charles, however, he had, by habit, rendered himself 
almost superhuman. His person was as invulnerable to 
the frosts of Denieper, as was his mind to the misfortunes 
which finally made him a prisoner at Bender." 

" A fortified town on the Dniester in Bessarabia, Russia, where Charles 
XII took refuge after the battle of Poltowa. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 125 

On the evening of the 14th of February I had passed 
Otsego, Richfield, &c. and arrived at Plainfield. The 
towns between Albany and the last mentioned place are 
generally inconsiderable, and offer no interesting mate- 
rials. They are, however, flourishing villages. During 
the whole of the 14th instant it snowed, and the travelling 
was very heavy. The general aspect of this part of the 
country is rather level than otherwise ; there are here, how- 
ever, many high and long hills. I had not yet ceased to 
be vulnerable to fatigue ; but hardships had, in a measure, 
become familiar to me. I do not pretend that I did not 
sometimes stand in need of resolution; but men have only 
to move on, and difficulties become less. It is in looking 
ahead at the aggregate obstacles which present themselves 
in an undertaking, and in embodying them, as it were, 
in the space of a moment, that one's mind is appalled. 
By meeting these obstacles in detail, we easily overcome 
[29] them; and then look back astonished at our appre- 

The Dutch mode of building, both with respect to their 
houses and bams, is visible in every part of the state of 
New- York; but American manners and customs are here 
absorbing all others. 

The interior of this state, like that of New-Hampshire 
and Vermont, presents many small and ill contrived log 
huts; and those who have been unaccustomed to seeing 
such, would be surprised to find how comfortably people 
may live in them. These huts are sometimes without a 
floor, and have wooden chimnies. Men who are ac- 
quainted only with polished life, would tremble at the idea 
of spending their days in one of these buildings; yet, they 
are generally the abode of virtue, health and happiness. 

On the 15th and i6th of February I passed through 
Eaton, Nelson, Casnove, Pompey and Manlius. The 

126 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

weather was very severe, the snow deep, and continually 
blowing. At Pompey I was so beset by ignorant imper- 
tinence and loquacious curiosity, that I found it necessary 
to harrangue the multitude. Having laid down for them 
some salutary rules upon the subject of manners, and tak- 
ing their sUence for an apology, I proceeded to Manlius. 

Even in this part of the country, bears, wolves, and deer 
are numerous. During the preceding fall the depreda- 
tions of the two former were very great; and the bounty 
offered for wolves, by some of the counties in the state, 
was ninety dollars. 

During the 17th the weather was still severe and 
the wind high. I passed Onondago " and Marcellus. 
Throughout these townships there are high and low hills. 
Owing to them, and to the depth of snow, my fatigue was 
great. My health also had suffered by many days and 
nights of severe tooth ache. In [30] passing through these 
and many other places, I experienced attentions from 
people of consideration; and was frequently introduced 
to their families. 

Onondago was formerly the chief town of the Six Na- 
tions; and lies on the south of the lake of that name. This 
lake is sometimes called salt lake ; and the springs near its 
shores produce immense quantities of salt. The Onon- 
dago Indians reside near this lake; but their numbers are 

During the i8th, 19th and 20th of February I travelled 
through Brutus, Aurelius, Auburn, Cayuga, Junius, and 
Waterloo." The weather in this part of the country had 

" At Onondaga village was formerly located the council house of the Six 
Nations. In the treaty of Fort Stanwix (1788) this village was retained as a 
reservation; but ten years later a large part of it was sold to the state, and the 
town of Onondaga was incorporated thereon. — Ed. 

" Evans was now in the miUtary district. The legislature (1789) had set 
aside 1,680,000 acres as bounty land for the soldiers of the Revolutionary War. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 127 

been for several days, and still was colder than had been 
before known there. The snow likewise was remark- 
ably deep. Cayuga Lake is about forty miles in length, 
and from two to four miles broad. The famous bridge 
across it is more than one mile in length. On the banks 
of this lake the Cayuga Indians reside. 

The Six Nations of Indians above mentioned are the 
Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagoes, Senecas, Cajoigas and 
Tuscaroras. The Stockbridge and Brotherton Indians 
now live with the united tribes.*® Notwithstanding these, 
and many other tribes are still in possession of vast tracts 
of land, and receive annually considerable sums from the 
United States, and also from individual states, they are 
occasionally emigrating to the wildernesses of Canada. 
Still wild and untameable, the surrounding aspect of civili- 
zation alarms them; and they silence the suggestions of 
jealousy by removing to pathless and illimitable forests. 

Many of the villages on the Western Turnpike have 
made their appearance within a very few years; and the 
vast resources of the interior of the state of New- York are 
daily developing. 

[31] During this part of my tour a little incident occurred, 

The tract extended from the eastern border of Onondaga County to Seneca 
Lake, and was surveyed into twenty-eight townships, upon which the governor 
bestowed classical names. — Ed. 

" The Housatonic Indians who had formed a mission settlement at Stock- 
bridge, Massachusetts, were granted a township by the Oneida — the present 
New Stockbridge, Madison County. Thither, immediately after the Revolu- 
tionary War, they removed to the number of about four hundred. The Brother- 
town Indians had preceded them. In 1774 the Oneida had given to the rem- 
nant of Narragansetts, Pequots, and other tribes living for the most part at 
Montville and Farmington, Connecticut, a piece of land fourteen miles south 
of the present Utica. They emigrated with their pastor and organized a new 
tribe, the Brothertown Indians. Both tribes later removed to Wisconsin, the 
Stockbridge Indians settling at South Kaukauna on Fox River (1822-29), and 
the Brothertown Indians on the east side of Lake Winnebago a few years later. 
See Davidson, In Unnamed Wisconsin (Milwaukee, 1895). — Ed. 

128 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

which resulted so pleasantly, and so fully evinced the 
policy as well as propriety of a certain course of conduct, 
that I am induced to mention it. In one of the last named 
towns, I was, whilst at a public house, furiously assailed 
by words and threats, by a man, who evidently had been 
of considerable consideration in society, but who had be- 
come a sot, and was at this time much intoxicated. As 
he was not in a situation to defend himself, there could 
have been no display of true courage in punishing him; 
and besides, he was already an object of pity. To his 
imbecile fury, therefore, I presented only a steady eye. 
He drew back. In a few minutes, however, he made 
another assault; and again yielded to a firm and silent 
aspect. A few hours after I met him in another place. 
His inebriety had, in a great measure, left him; he was 
very sorry for his conduct, and expressed towards me 
much good will. 

I have observed, that I was seldom known ; and as I ap- 
peared to be a person travelling in disguise, some pains 
were taken to ascertain who I was. The suggestions re- 
specting me were very numerous; and a great many bets 
were made, and many expedients resorted to in relation 
to my origin, destination, and business. Some imagined 
me to be upon a secret expedition for the government. 
My manners seldom comporting with my mode of living, 
the multitude were at a loss to know to what class in so- 
ciety I belonged. They heard me converse like other peo- 
ple; but seldom saw me eat or drink, and were surprised 
to view me sleeping with my dogs upon the bare floor. 

In my course through the upper part of the state of 
New- York, I spent many a pleasant evening, surrounded 
by a great variety of character, and seated [32] by a huge 
western fire. During these seasons some political ques- 
tion would often arise, and it was interesting to witness 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 129 

the debates. Upon one occasion a serious legal question, 
long agitated in the neighbourhood, was introduced ; and 
being a limb of the law, I involuntarily made an observa- 
tion upon it. Bets soon began to run high, and the Pedes- 
trian was appointed umpire. 

It is unpleasant for one to speak of himself. — Many 
anecdotes, which would be interesting to my friends, must 
be omitted. 

In the course of a few days after leaving Waterloo, I 
passed through many towns, the principal of which are 
Romulus, Ovid, Hector, Ulysses, and Geneva; also Canan- 
daigua, the two Bloomfields and Lima; and in addition to 
these Avon, Caledonia and Batavia." Some of these 
towns, especially the two Bloomfields and Lima, consti- 
tute a remarkably handsome and rich tract of country. 

Canandaigua is situated at the north of the lake of this 
name; and many of the buildings of this place are large 
and elegant. The lake is about eighteen or twenty miles 
long, and two or three miles broad. 

But it would have been in order first to speak of Seneca 
lake, which lies east of lake Canandaigua. Seneca lake is 
about thirty-five miles long, and about two miles wide. 
The numerous lakes in the interior of the state of New- 
York, are admirably calculated to promote her inland 
commerce. Whilst they furnish by their numbers, and 
their positions the means of connecting her resources, and 
promoting the trade and intercourse of her people, they 
are not so large as to occupy an unnecessary portion of 
her territory. Every thing, in relation to New- York, 
is conspiring to render her a wonderfully powerful State. 

[33] Whilst in Canandaigua the court was sitting; and 

" At Geneva, Evans left the military district and entered the Phelps and 
Gorham Purchase. For a brief account of this tract and the towns located 
upon it, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, notes 3 and 36. — ,Ed. 

130 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

owing to some novel proceedings there, one or two thou- 
sand people were assembled. After pressing through the 
crowd, and obtaining some information respecting my 
course, I proceeded on my way. 

Not long after I formed a particular acquaintance with 
Doctor S. He introduced me to his family, and enter- 
tained me in a very hospitable and friendly manner. The 
Doctor, being no less fond of an innocent joke than he was 
conspicuous for his good sense and benevolence, proposed 
in the course of the evening, his introducing me to a 
shrewd old neighbour of his, as a relation who lived on 
some far distant mountain, and who had been long ab- 
sent. I readily assented to the proposition, and we both 
agreed upon the parts which we were to act. Owing, 
however, to an unnatural performance on my part, or to 
some other cause, the neighbour detected the deception. 
But the assay resulted in considerable amusement; and 
after drinking to the health of each other, the Doctor 
and myself left the old gentleman to exult in his 

At 3 o'clock the next morning, I was awakened by the 
rich and lofty notes of the bugle-horn, and entertained by 
several superb martial songs. At day light we sat down 
to a good breakfast ; and immediately after I resumed my 

Amidst all these pleasant circumstances, my dogs had 
accidentally been neglected; and seeing their master fare 
so well, they at length took the liberty to help themselves. 
The larder of Mrs. S. being open, they espied there a large 
pan of baked pork and beans; and without ceremony, — 
or knife and fork divided the former between them; leav- 
ing the beans for those who were less carniverous. After 
this broad hint on their part, the lady of the house fed 
them to their heart's content. 

i8i8] Evans* s Pedestrious Tour i 3 r 

[34] During my tour, thus far, I formed many valuable 

Here I may remark that from Albany to the remote in- 
terior of New- York, there is, generally speaking, but little 
hospitality; and the love of money there displays itself in 
the high prices which are charged for provisions. Im- 
mense profits are realized by the retailer at the expense of 
the traveller. I have always noticed in my travels, that 
the newer a settlement is, the more prevalent is hospitality. 
This great virtue is much more conspicuous among the 
poor, than among those who possess more than a compe- 
tency. Here avarice begins its reign; and every virtue is 
blasted by its poisonous influence. 

In this part of the country, and in many other places I 
often found it convenient to stop at the log huts of poor 
emigrants. From the inmates of these huts I always ex- 
perienced a kind and generous welcome; and in almost 
every case I ascertained that they were from New-Hamp- 
shire or Vermont. — They would generally refuse to take 
any compensation for their services; and were so afraid of 
violating the sacred principles of hospitality, that I could 
only leave my money upon their table, or cast it as a play 
thing to their children. Oh! how many tutelary angels 
shield the cot of the poor and virtuous man, whilst the 
splendid habitations of the rich and dissipated, receive 
only the averted eye of offended Heaven. 

I have omitted to mention, that whilst in Albany I 
was informed that robberies had been frequently com- 
mitted on the Western Turnpike. This information ap- 
peared peculiarly important, on account of the frequent 
suggestions of people that I probably had with me a large 
sum of money. Besides, war, which always produces a 
greater or less number of abandoned and desperate char- 
acters, having [35] recently ceased, and there being many 

I 3 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

dark and solitary tracts of wood on the turnpike, I thought 
there was much cause for apprehension. I had, however, 
previously concealed my money in different parts of my 
cloaths, and was careful to keep my arms in a state of prep- 
aration. Fortunately I met with no attack. The appear- 
ance of my arms, and the apparent fierceness of my dogs, 
were, probably, preventatives. 

I was frequently told too, that owing to my mode of 
dress, there would be much danger of my being shot by 
the hunters in passing through the bushes. Many acci- 
dents, sanctioning the idea, had from time to time occurred. 
A hunter, not long before, had killed a deer, and throwing 
it upon his shoulder was proceeding home. Another hunt- 
er, having an obscure view of the deer through the bushes, 
fired and killed the man. I did not, however, experience 
any injury from this quarter. 

Such was the depth of snow and such the severity of the 
weather during the first month of my tour, that no game 
was to be found in the woods excepting a few squirrels; 
and those only during a momentary sunshine. Numer- 
ous as had been the beasts of prey throughout the preced- 
ing fall, they seemed now to be waiting in their dens for 
the storms to be overpassed. All nature appeared to be 
congealed ; and the tyrant winter presented an unrelenting 

In the remote parts of the State of New- York provisions 
were scarce. There are so many emigrants travelling and 
settling in that quarter during winter, that want is fre- 
quently the consequence. — The emigrants, who settle dur- 
ing that season of the year, must be fed, for many months, 
from the common stock of provisions, before they can, by 
their labour, add to it. Some of them have money, but 
[36] money will not save them from want. Here we see the 
importance of the agricultural interest, and, generally, of 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 133 

the productive power of labour. Agriculture and do- 
mestic manufactures will render a people perfectly in- 
dependent. Money is of no real consequence excepting 
when employed as a circulating medium; fancy however 
has cherished for it an irrational partiality. Thank 
Heaven ! we have no considerable mines of silver and gold 
to corrupt our country; but plenty of iron to plough her 
fields and to defend her liberties. 

Agriculture is the most natural, necessary, and honour- 
able employment of man. Ignorant pride and vain folly 
may represent it as derogatory; but in so doing they show 
how very far they are from true greatness. Agriculture 
furnishes for vigorous constitutions the most salutary ex- 
ercise ; and here the brightest geniuses may find ample em- 
ployment. — An unlimited field for experiment in many 
branches of natural philosophy is here presented, and 
there is no sphere in life so well calculated as this to pro- 
mote individual virtue and public advantage. 

Here man is engaged in the peculiar work assigned him 
by his Creator, and many interesting reflections naturally 
result from it. The field which he cultivates is his parent 
earth. According to the righteous appointment of Heaven, 
he must here obtain his bread by the sweat of his brow, ^un- 
til he returns to the dust. The employment naturally di- 
rects his thoughts to his origin and destinies; and impresses 
his mind with a sense of his mortality, dependence, and 
accountability to God. Here too he reflects, with peculiar 
advantage, upon the gracious plan of Redemption. The 
return of spring joyfully reminds him of the Resurrection ; 
and in the perishing grain which he has sown, he recog- 
nizes St. Paul's similitude of this great event. 

[37] The further a man's employment is from rural scenes 
and avocations, the further he is from the original dignity 
and simplicity of his nature. Here may be acquired the 

I 34 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

greatest comparative degree of physical and mental vigour, 
the noblest virtues, the truest piety, the most sincere and 
ardent patriotism, the loftiest independence of character, 
and all the pleasures which flow from the sprightliness of 
the imagination and the susceptibility of the heart. 

The great and good of every age have spoken in behalf 
of agriculture; and the Egyptians ascribed the discovery 
of it to their gods. The worthies of Greece and Rome 
were well acquainted with the plough; and Cincinnatus 
left his team, vanquished the ^qui and Volsci, who were 
besieging the Roman army, and then returned to his be- 
loved employment. Our Washington too, charmed his 
pure and noble spirit with the rural occupations of his en- 
deared Vernon ; and the Emperor of China attends, every 
spring, to the ceremony of opening the ground, by holding 
the plough himself. 

In my course to Niagara Falls I passed Genesee river. 
This river rises in Pennsylvania, and enters Lake Ontario 
about eighty miles east of Niagara river. It contains sev- 
eral falls, from fifty to one hundred feet in height, and offers 
many fine seats for mills. This river, and those which 
are connected with it are generally sluggish in their motion. 

The tract of country lying upon the Genessee is rich, 
and well watered. The celebrated Genessee Flats are sit- 
uated on the borders of the river, and is about twenty 
miles by four. 

The Holland Purchase is a part of the Genessee Coun- 

Although I have not yet surveyed the whole field of 
domestic emigration, I may, with propriety, introduce in 
this place some ideas which I [38] have heretofore enter- 
tained upon the subject; these ideas having been fully 
sanctioned by the experience of my whole tour. The 

" For the Holland Purchase, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, note 4. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 135 

subject should be examined both in a national and indi- 
vidual point of view. 

Supposing, for a moment, that my reflections upon this 
topic may produce some effect upon the feelings and opin- 
ions of those who are disposed to emigrate, there is little 
or no danger of lessening the interests of the nation, in re- 
lation to it, by checking too much the existing locomotive 
disposition of the people. 

Dear as home is to man, he is, in his best estate, a wan- 
derer. An alien from the purity and peace of Heaven, he 
will sigh for other scenes until his highest hopes eventuate 
in a habitation there. 

Upon this general disposition of mankind to change 
their views of happiness and their place of residence, the 
people of the United States have engrafted an unusual de- 
gree of enterprise. This enterprise has at once enriched 
and ennobled their country. Naturally fond of agricul- 
ture, and fully sensible of its consequence, both in a pub- 
lic and private point of view, our citizens have combined, 
in relation to this subject, the powerful influences of in- 
clination, interest, and patriotism. But the impulse to 
emigration under these circumstances may have been too 
great. When a spring naturally overflows, the supera- 
bundance of its water may weU be spared to fertilize the 
adjacent country; but when some extraordinary influence 
produces an ebuUition in the spring, it may, in consequence 
of this cause, exhaust its own resources and ultimately be- 
come dry. 

Extraordinary causes, in relation to those subjects which 
concern the growth of a nation, should always be watched 
and sometimes checked. Under ordinary circumstances 
the natural operation of cause and effect will keep every 
thing within its proper [39] sphere, — will direct every 
thing to its proper level. 

136 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

With respect to emigrations from our seaboard to the 
inland states and territories, there is danger of the strength 
of the nation being, for a time, lessened. The physical 
force of a country should always be kept compact. By 
dividing its powers its energies will be weakened. 

Such, with us, has been the impetus of the spirit of emi- 
gration, that the influence of example and habit, in rela- 
tion to it, will continue to operate for some time to come. 
Indeed such is the fascinating nature of the subject, that 
it will always be more or less popular; and as to the habit 
of moving from place to place, it is, in some, so completely 
fixed, that after they have passed through every part of 
the land of promise, they will, for the sake of one more 
change, return to the seaboard again. In a national 
point of view I am far from wishing to discourage do- 
mestic emigration; and I am far too from thinking that 
it does not frequently result in individual advantage. 

It is essential to the preservation of our free and eco- 
nomical institutions, that the seaboard should from time 
to time transplant a part of its population to the interior. 
The existence of liberty in a state ultimately depends, in 
no small degree, upon rural avocations, and upon a par- 
ticular climate and scenery. In some of our western 
states and territories liberty will exist for a great length of 
time. Transplanted from the seaboard, their citizens will 
acquire a new moral force, and that force will be cher- 
ished by the local peculiarities of their situation. These 
states will produce a happy balance between the agricul- 
tural and commercial interests, and prove at once the 
check and the political salvation of the maratime states. 

[40] In proportion to the population of our maratime 
cities will be their luxury, dissipation, and indifference to 
simple and rational modes of government. No doubt the 
interests of commerce ought to be cherished; not, how- 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 137 

ever, so much because they are essential to our inde- 
pendence and happiness, as because they encourage in- 
dustry at home by furnishing a foreign market for surplus 
produce. The other advantages of foreign trade, both 
literary and commercial, are not inconsiderable ; and they 
ought to be appreciated : — but not without a due refer- 
ence to the contaminating influences of foreign manners 
and customs. With respect to manners and customs, 
other nations, in their intercourse with us, are, no doubt, 
gainers; but we, I am satisfied, experience from them 
much injury. It may be added, that a certain extent of 
population in our sea ports is essential to that degree of 
commercial enterprise, which will set afloat our surplus 
capital ; and therefore we ought to view the spirit of emi- 
gration in relation to this particular. 

I may improve this opportunity to make a few addi- 
tional reflections upon foreign commerce. The advo- 
cates of this interest, under the pretence of attaching to it 
a consequence only equal to that of agriculture, have 
laboured to prove that the former is even paramount to 
the latter, — that the country is almost exclusively a com- 
mercial nation. One of these advocates, in a speech de- 
livered in Congress in January 18 14, advances such a 
principle. Much as I admire the sublime complexion of 
his inteUect, and the enlightened majesty of his heart, I 
must say that his position is altogether exceptionable. — 
He observes, in the above mentioned speech, that the 
principal motive for adopting the constitution of the gen- 
eral government was the protection and extension of com- 
merce. So far from this being the [41] case, the great and 
principal conditions and objects of our national compact, 
were individual security and the advancement of the true 
interests of the country. It must have been weU known, 
that a state of things might exist which would render an 

138 "Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

abandonment of foreign commerce absolutely necessary 
to the preservation of our liberties, — to the protection of 
individual right, and even the very existence of the 

But I go much further. Our commercial interests are 
of far less consequence than those of agriculture. The 
former are not essential to our independence and comfort. 
They do not even exist until agriculture has so far ad- 
vanced as to furnish more than sufficient provisions for 
the support of the whole community; not only for those 
who labour in agriculture, but also for labourers in manu- 
factures and other mechanical employments; for those 
who are engaged in domestic commerce; for those who 
are engaged in promoting intellectual improvement; 
and lastly, for those who, owing to infancy, old age, dis- 
ease and other causes are unable to work. When this 
state of things commences, and not before, foreign com- 
merce begins its career. Here the people inquire what 
they shall do with their surplus produce, and being unable 
to find a market for it at home, endeavour to find for it 
a foreign market. Hence arise foreign commercial rela- 
tions. As to the luxuries which foreign commerce pro- 
duces, our constitution certainly never made provision for 
their introduction. 

It remains for me to notice the subject of domestic emi- 
gration, in relation to the individual advantage which may 
arise from it. 

The views of mankind with respect to the sources of 
true happiness are, generally speaking, very erroneous. 
This effect arises principally from inconsideration. [42] 
We see enough in the Divine Word in the book of nature, 
and in the suggestions of conscience to convince us, that 
our relation to a future state of existence is of wonderful 
import. The first questions which we should ask our- 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 139 

selves are : — what was the design of our creation ? and 
what duties does this design inculcate ? As far as is con- 
sistent with these great views, man may innocently con- 
sult his inclinations. Indeed they were given for the two- 
fold purpose of rational gratification, and to furnish him 
with an opportunity, when their indulgence would be 
irrational, to display his virtue by self-controul. The 
more strictly we conform to that purity of heart and 
holiness of life which the gospel inculcates, the more ex- 
alted will be our nature, the higher our standard of happi- 
ness, and the more perfect our preparation for the society 
of Heaven. 

The present life is, no doubt, a season of probation. 
Here we are to form a character for a future and perma- 
nent state of existence. Consistently with the endeavour 
duly to improve our intellectual, moral, and religious 
nature, it is important for man to exert himself to obtain 
a comfortable support. Generally speaking, however, this 
should be the limit of his views. It is most consistent 
with the uncertain tenure of human life, and most conge- 
nial to the growth of virtue and the production of happi- 
ness. A wish to acquire a great estate can be sanctioned 
only by an equal desire to employ it in effecting charitable 
purposes, and in aiding institutions which have in view 
individual and public advantage. The desire of great 
wealth for other purposes is criminal. It is dictated by 
a spirit of luxury, by pride, by extravagance, by a spirit 
of vain competition, or, what is worse than all, by avarice. 
As for leaving great estates to children, no wise or kind 
parent will ever do it. Industry will, generally speaking, 
produce a [43] competency; and economy will, in time, 
convert that competency into wealth. 

But I must speak more directly to the point. — From 
motives of patriotism one may emigrate from the east to 

1 40 Early Weste?'n Travels [Vol. 8 

the west, especially to a frontier state or territory; and 
he will, perhaps, find in this removal great individual 
profit. The circumstances of men are various. Emigra- 
tions are sometimes advantageous and sometimes other- 
wise; — advantageous in point of health and in point of 
property. Many, however, lose both instead of gaining 
either by a removal. There are many erroneous views 
entertained upon this subject: and it is, principally, be- 
cause men are governed, in relation to it, more by feelings 
than by ideas. The subject interests the imagination ; and 
pleasing anticipations upon a new topic, always afford 
more satisfaction, than the actual possession of that which 
is as valuable as the object itself, the future possession of 
which is anticipated. Many persons by emigration have 
become rich; but does it follow that they might not have 
become so at home ? Many too by moving from place to 
place have become poor. Had they been stationary they 
might at least have secured to themselves a competency. 
There are almost innumerable advantages and disad- 
vantages in relation to this subject, and the balance must 
be stricken according to the circumstances of each indi- 
vidual. Those whose object is to acquire a good living 
by their industry, and who can obtain this at home, will 
act unwisely in changing their situation. They cannot 
more fully gratify their views by a removal: and by such 
a step they abandon what is necessary and certain for 
what is at once unnecessary and precarious. They might, 
perhaps, obtain abroad, with less labour, what they now 
obtain at home ; but they are not aware how essential in- 
dustry is to their happiness. [44] It gives a zest to food, 
and sleep, and social intercourse; and also furnishes sub- 
stantial rest ; — a luxury of which the idle are ignorant. 
Some have been so imprudent as to abandon the home of 
their infancy, where the comforts of life could have been 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 141 

obtained by a good degree of industry. What were the 
consequences? perhaps wealth; — but it was unneces- 
sary; — perhaps poverty, disease and premature death. 
Some too, even in advanced life, and after spending their 
time in clearing a tract of land, so as to render it fertile 
and easy of cultivation, have sacrificed a comfortable and 
pleasant old age for new perils and labours in the western 

The great complaint of the people of the east is, that 
their agricultural labours are great and their crops small. 
This declaration is, in some degree, correct ; but its truth 
arises, principally, from our cultivating too much land. 
And yet we are ready to make great sacrifices for the pur- 
pose of obtaining vast tracts in the west. It is admitted 
that the land of the west is, generally speaking, more 
fertile than ours; but it does not follow that it will always 
be so, or that ours may not be rendered sufficiently fertile. 
New land is always most productive. It has been enrich- 
ing itself for ages. But its fertility wUl, upon being culti- 
vated, become less. We see the truth of these remarks in 
the cultivation of our own new lands. But I will not con- 
ceal the fact, that the western lands are naturally more 
fertile than those of the east. Some of the former are 
almost inexhaustibly rich; but others of them will, in 
time, become poor; and then will not be so easily rendered 
fertile as those of the east. The eastern land too is 
stronger, more durable, retains moisture longer, and of 
course more easily preserves its fertility. This is particu- 
larly the case in its comparison with the land of Kentucky. 
That State is exposed [45] to great drouth. Its pan being 
limestone, and its soil consisting of loam, but little rain is 
imbibed, and that little is soon lost through the pores of 
the limestone, and by evaporation. To the great quanti- 
ties of limestone in Kentucky, its caves and petrefactions 

142 Rarly Western Travels [Vol.8 

are to be attributed. Moisture is absolutely necessary to 
vegetation. The richest land without it is entirely unpro- 
ductive. Upon this principle it is decidedly injurious to 
deprive land of its small stones. They not only cause it 
to retain moisture; but, by keeping it light, enable it to 
receive much rain. They also render the earth warm, and 
admit into it the necessary quantity of air. By depriving 
land of its stones the earth falls into a solid mass, and the 
consequence is, that it imbibes but a small portion of rain. 
The stones of our fields should be rolled in as soon as the 
grain is sowed. On the surface they will be useless, and 
very troublesome. 

I have suggested, that we cultivate too much land to 
render agriculture profitable. I speak in relation to the 
means which we employ for fertilizing our land. Much 
may be done without the aid of manure; but the use of 
this article is the most ready and efficient mode of render- 
ing the cultivation of the earth profitable. Instead, how- 
ever, of increasing this article by compost, we misapply 
that which is incident to our farms. By spreading a small 
quantity of manure upon a large piece of poor land, it is 
almost entirely lost ; in as much as it remains in an inac- 
tive state. There is not a sufficient quantity to give an 
impetus to the cold and barren earth with which it is 
mixed. This is one great cause of poor crops; and the 
great surface over which the labour of the husbandman is 
spread is the principal ground of the excessive labour of 
which he complains. Should the farmer plough [46] only 
as much land as he could highly manure, his labour would 
be comparatively small, his crops great, and his land con- 
stantly improving. By this mode of proceeding the crops 
would not exhaust the land ; and the quantity of manure 
upon it, beyond what is necessary to the production of 
the crops, would, by its fermentation, fertilize and render 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 143 

of the nature of compost the whole cultivated surface. 
Such land may, with a trifling expense, be kept very rich. 
Whilst this process is operating upon a part of the poor 
lands of a farm, the residue of them may lie fallow, or be 
fertilized by ploughing in such green crops as may be 
produced upon a lean soil. 

The extraordinary means of enriching land are numer- 
ous. A little reflection upon the most common principles 
of philosophy will point them out. The elements, acting 
upon each other, are constantly producing effects, and 
the latter operate as causes in the production of effects 
more remote. Different soils, and different manures, and 
different crops must all be connected according to their 
respective and relative natures. 

The materials for making compost upon a farm are 
almost innumerable; and leisure hours, which would 
otherwise be lost, may be employed in collecting them. 
Another extraordinary mean of fertilizing the earth is fre- 
quent ploughing. This work, especially when performed 
at particular times, is highly useful. It separates the un- 
productive masses, and opens the soil more fully to the 
impregnations of that vegetable nourishment which is 
contained in rain, dew, and even the air itself. Ploughing 
land when the dew is on the ground is very beneficial. I 
may add, that the ploughing in of stubble as soon as the 
crops are off, is of much consequence. 

[47] Wet land should be drained, and, when practicable, 
land comparatively high should be overflown. The soil 
of the former should, in some cases, be spread upon the 
latter; and that of the latter applied in the same way upon 
the former. Overflowing may sometimes be employed 
conveniently and to much advantage. 

I have said that moisture is absolutely necessary to 
vegetation. This country is rather subject to drouth than 

144 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

otherwise; and hence, principally, arises the occasional 
failure of our crops. One cause of the great fertility of 
England is the frequent rains there. With us there is 
more rain than in Great-Britain; but in the latter place 
it falls, not in torrents as is sometimes the case with us, 
but in gentle and more frequent showers. Wet seasons 
are never unfruitful. 

Another mode of rendering land productive is by a 
change of crops. Different plants require a different kind 
of nourishment, and a piece of land may contain a greater 
quantity of one kind of vegetable food than of another. 
All crops, in a greater or less degree, consume, in time, 
their peculiar food; and of course require a change of 
situation. To make this change, among the variety of 
crops on a farm, with judgment, requires both theoretical 
and practical knowledge in husbandry. 

A change of seed also is of consequence. Seed carried 
from the north to the south, and likewise from the east to 
the west will do better than that which comes from a 
milder climate. Sowing seed upon the ground which 
produced it is highly disadvantageous. By a change of 
seed the action of the soil upon it is more animated. Im- 
provement of seed too in agriculture is of consequence. 
That which is first ripe and most perfect should be 
selected; [48] and the mode of preserving it requires 

With respect to the raising of cattle too we act as un- 
wisely as we do in relation to the cultivation of our land. 
According to the limited productions of our farms, our 
cattle are too numerous. We lose one half of the food 
appropriated for them, by applying it to too great a 
number. In many cases our cattle are not worth so 
much in the spring of the year as they were in the pre- 
ceeding fall. Our swine, in particular, are kept poor until 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 145 

the crops come in, and then it costs to fatten them three 
times as much as they are worth : the consequence is that 
the farmer, before another fall, complains of his want of 

Great improvements may be made in relation to the 
breed and feeding of cattle. A change of stock is as im- 
portant here as in agriculture. It may also be observed, 
that present profit is too frequently consulted at the ex- 
pense of ultimate loss. The farmer sells all his best cattle 
to the butcher, or kUls them for his own use, before their 
real value is suffered to develope itself, and to eventuate 
in the improvement of his stock. 

The agricultural societies established in New-England, 
and in other states of the Union, within a few years, have 
produced much individual and public benefit. That of 
Massachusetts is rendering her, with respect to this sub- 
ject, the rival of Great-Britain. New-Hampshire is doing 
something in this way; and her legislature should imme- 
diately encourage her agricultural interests. 

As to the means of increasing our crops, much more 
might be offered ; but the nature of this work will not war- 
rant it. Although many of our farmers do well, all might 
do better; and it cannot be denied that many of us are 
very negligent agriculturalists. How many of our lands 
are [49] ploughed only once, and that very imperfectly ! — 
How many of our pastures are injured by the promiscuous 
range of swine, geese, and every other creature on a farm ! 
How many of our orchards are left for years uncultivated 
and unpruned! How many of our mowing fields are, 
both in the spring and fall, shamefully poached and 
grubbed by horses and sheep, as well as horned cattle! 
How much neglect is there in the collection of fodder, 
and how much waste in the application of it ! With us 
there are many errors to be corrected, and many improve- 

1 46 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

ments to be made. This topic is important, interesting, 
and exhaustless; but I must dismiss it, after making a very 
few additional remarks. As to our orchards, and the graz- 
ing of our mowing fields in the spring, I trust that we shall 
speedily abandon practices which are so disgraceful and 
so injurious. The most vigorous roots of grass shoot 
first. Those our cattle crop. The future growth is 
feeble; and grass, which springs after the season for it, is 
always puny. With respect to our orchards, we seem to 
think that they require no cultivation ; that we have only 
to set down the trees, and all will be well : but the nature 
of things should convince us of the irrationality of our 
views upon this point. Trees require manuring and cul- 
tivating as much as any other plant. 

I return to the comparison between the east and the 
west. However high may be the reputation of [50] the 
western lands, they are decidedly inferior to ours, as a graz- 
ing country. Another advantage which we possess over 
the west is, the superiority of our market. There is a 
much greater disproportion between the prices, than be- 
tween the crops of the two sections of the country. Our 
crops are something less; but the prices which we obtain 
for our produce are much higher than those of the west. 
As to the prices too, of many articles, such as clothing and 
groceries, the advantage is with us; the people of the 
west being obliged to pay for the expense of transporta- 
tion, and also the profits of the western retailer. 

In point of health, the air of the west is not so salubrious 
as that of the east. The country being still covered with 
forests, its streams are noxious; and being too, a level 
country, its evaporations are great. These circum- 
stances produce diseases of a peculiar and fatal nature. 
Our mountains are entirely free from them. 

With respect to religious privileges, morals, means of 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrious Tour 147 

education, and social intercourse, the west is at present, 
and will be for some time to come, far inferior to the 

As to relations and friends, which emigrants frequently 
leave behind them, every one will judge for himself; but 
surely to a disinterested and susceptable heart, this sacri- 
fice is not inconsiderable. When persons of this cast of 
character reflect upon the fleeting nature of time, its vicis- 
situdes, and the need which they frequently feel of the 
society and solace of their friends, they will wish to spend 
with them the days of their pilgrimage, to participate 
with them in the little joys of life, and to commune to- 
gether upon the hopes of a better world. 

In concluding my reflections upon the subject of emigra- 
tion, I may observe that in no case is it necessary [51] for 
the people of the east to emigrate to the western country. 
There is in the former an ample field for labour; and the 
reward of this labour is sufiicient for every rational pur- 
pose of life. Whilst men complain of labour, they add to 
it by speculating upon foreign means of enjoyment, when 
at the same time they possess every source of happiness, 
excepting gratitude and contentment. Many persons, by 
extravagance, become embarrassed, and then censure the 
times, and complain of their lot instead of applying to 
industry and economy for relief. Economy will perform 
wonders. Nothing is more true than the adage that a 
penny saved is a penny earned. The state of things, for 
several years past, has been teaching us a salutary lesson 
upon this subject; and all can now live within their in- 
come without wounding their pride. In economising, 
however, we must avoid parsimony, which soon leads to 
avarice — the source of all crime, and all littleness. 

I have already written much; but, according to my 
journal, it is still February, I have progressed only within 

148 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

sixty miles of the Heights of Queenston, and the storms 
of winter still rage. 

In my course through the western parts of the state of 
New York, I generally travelled within forty miles of Lake 
Ontario. In this part of the country many of the people 
entertain strange notions respecting supernatural agen- 
cies. Solitude, whilst it strengthens the mind, and forti- 
fies the heart of the well-informed, renders the ignorant 
timid and superstitious. The whisper of their forests, and 
the echo of their hills, alarm their unenlightened imagina- 
tions. Those inhabitants of the west, of whom I am now 
speaking, believe in witchcraft, and often suppose it the 
source of disease both in man and beast. Whilst on the 
borders of Ontario, I stopped for a few moments at a log 
hut where there was a man in a convulsion [52] fit. Dur- 
ing the operation of the malady, my attention was attracted 
by the conversation of two young women upon the sub- 
ject. One of them observed that if a garment of the man 
should be taken off and thrown into the fire, the fit would 
leave him, and never again return. The other assented 
to the idea; but the prescription was not attended to. 
Perhaps they were afraid of being bewitched themselves. 
It is a very common idea too, in the remote parts of New- 
York, that if a man should shoot an owl with his rifle, 
it would be rendered so crooked as never to throw ball 
true again. 

I may here say a word of the back- woodsmen. They 
are hardy, active, industrious, and in the employment of 
the axe, wonderfully strong and dexterous. But, with 
respect to manners, some of them are no less rude than 
the wilds which they inhabit. 

The upper part of the state of New York is, compara- 
tively, a wilderness. There are here many Indian re- 
serves. They are solitary places; they are dark spots on 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 149 

the face of civilization. The tawny inhabitants of these 
gloomy forests generally establish themselves in the most 
remote situations, and render the access to them indirect 
and difficult. Whenever I entered their villages, they 
seemed, by their manner towards each other, to say: 
"This civil vn'etch has found out our retreat." There is 
a shyness and wildness in their aspect, no less significant 
than such a declaration. No cause of wonder is it, that 
these persecuted beings look with a jealous eye upon the 
descendants of those Europeans, who drove their ancestors 
from the pleasant regions of the east. They see no end to 
the avarice, the claims, or the progress of white men; 
and view themselves between the horrors of civilization, 
and the illimitable expanse of the Pacific ocean. 

[53] Barbarous as are the Indians of North America, 
they possess much greatness, and many virtues. Consider- 
ing their prejudices against us, which prejudices are inci- 
dent to their education, and by no means groundless, they 
evince much forbearance, and even friendship towards us. 

Near one of the Indian reserves, I met five of these chil- 
dren of nature. As I had not seen one for fifteen years 
before, I was much interested in their appearance. In 
approaching them I presented a grave but friendly aspect. 
Their gravity at first exceeded mine, but they soon became 
rather sociable. After some little conversation we parted, 
not, however, until they had taken much notice of my 
"varm drase." In the course of a few hours, I passed 
what iscalled an Indian opening. It was an exposed situ- 
ation of many miles in extent; the weather was severe, 
the snow deep, and the wind continually whirled it about 
the unsheltered traveller. 

Not knowing the extent of this opening, and fearing 
that night might find me without fuel, or materials for a 
tent, I exerted myself to reach in season, the adjoining 

150 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

wood. By this means I became fatigued, and very much 
in want of refreshment. I had no provisions with me, 
and indeed no means of carrying any. I soon perceived, 
in^the edge of the forest, a small log hut; but poverty 
resided there, and I could obtain only an ear of com ; this, 
however, I found palatable and nutritious. Dyonysius^' 
did not like the fare of the public tables, under the institu- 
tions of Lycurgus, because, as the cook said, it was not 
seasoned with fatigue and hunger. Towards evening, as 
I was travelling through a dark wood, I discovered what I 
presumed to be an Indian trail, and, for the sake of ad- 
venture, concluded to follow it. It snowed fast, darkness 
was approaching, and [54] the wilderness presented a 
dreary aspect. Had not my heart been afraid of me, it 
would have communicated a secret alarm to my imagina- 
tion, and then I should have seen around me a thousand 
ambuscades. But I had so often cried down to its con- 
temptible obtrusiveness, that it feigned, at least, a tranquil 

The snow was deep, and the track exceedingly serpen- 
tine; so that I seemed, occasionally, to be travelling back 
to the point at which I commenced the adventure. It, 
however, finally led me over a gradual descent into a 
dark plain. The first evidence which I had of there 
being human habitations here, was a few sticks of recently 
cut wood piled above the snow. Soon after, I heard the 
distant bay of dogs. At length I came in open view of a 
large collection of wigwams. It was now, however, so 
dark, and it snowed so fast, that I could only see ob- 
scurely the objects which presented themselves. But 
upon going nearer, my attention was arrested by the 
appearance of many Indians, going in their blankets, 
from several of the huts to a long and low building, which 

'• The tyrant. — Evans. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 151 

I afterwards ascertained was their council house. Think- 
ing that I should here have a good opportunity to see 
many of the Indians together, I knocked at the door, 
lifted the latch, and entered. I made a slight bow, and 
took off my cap. They presented me, in return, a serious 
and unmoved aspect, but offered me a seat. Soon after, 
I thought that I perceived in them some degree of timidity. 
They had, within a few days, been performing some reli- 
gious ceremonies, and were, probably, unusually supersti- 
tious. They had been wearing masks, for the purpose of 
driving the evil spirit from their village; and, perhaps, 
they began to think that they had not affected their object. 
I endeavoured, however, to render my society agreeable 
[55] to them. When I entered the council house, there 
were about fifty or sixty persons there. The building 
was about eighty feet long, and about twelve or fourteen 
wide. Across the beams overhead were several poles, 
hanging from which were some traces of mouldy corn; 
and on each side of the building were benches for seats. 
There was no floor to the house, and at each end of it there 
was, upon the ground, a large council fire. At a little dis- 
tance from these, there were two parties engaged in a war- 
dance. This is a custom which these Indians will not 
relinquish. Some of them were naked, and many of them 
covered with ornaments. They wore strings of trinkets 
around their ankles, the object of which appeared to be to 
produce music in dancing. They also had much jewelry 
in their ears and noses. In their war dances, they imitate 
every part of an engagement: the onset, retreat of the 
enemy, pursuit, &c. Here the young warrior acquires 
a martial spirit, and the love of fame; and here too the 
aged veteran reminds his tribe of what he has done, and 
of what his spirit tells him he could do again. During 
the dances, I was much interested in the appearance of a 

1 5 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

youth, a son of a chief, whose zeal for his nation caused 
him, in the feigned pursuit of the enemy, to leap over 
the prescribed chcle of the dance, into the fire. An 
old and decrepit chief too, here evinced no less devo- 
tion to his country. His appearance excited admiration 
and pity. He was emaciated by disease, scarred in battle, 
and bent with the weight of years. He evinced in his 
efforts the greatest energy of spirit, whilst such was his de- 
crepitude that he could not lift his eyes from the ground. 
His trinkets rattled upon his aged limbs, and his wheezing 
lungs sounded in his hollow trunk. Poor child of nature ! 
— Heaven careth for thee ! 

[56] The dances commenced with the beat of an old 
kettle drum, and was ended by a rap with a club upon one 
of the benches. At the conclusion of each dance one of 
the chiefs addressed the company, and passed a piece of 
tobacco as a token, which they understood much better 
than myself. 

In the course of an hour or two after I left this scene of 
war, I entered one of the huts. Many came here to see 
me, and seemed desirous to know from whence I came, 
whither I was going, &c. A few of them could imper- 
fectly speak English. An old chief attracted, by his ugli- 
ness, my particular attention. He was about sixty years 
of age; his skin was coarse and shrivelled, his face was 
covered with scars, one of his eyes was protuberant, blood- 
shot and sightless, and his hair was matted by thick red 
paint, having the appearance of blood. Some of the men 
were likely, the old women squallid, and the young ones 
uninteresting. The children, however, were pretty. 

It is said that the Indians of North America treat their 
wives with coldness and neglect ; but I am of a different 
opinion. Certain it is that their affection towards their 
offspring is lively and tender. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 153 

After taking some refreshment I laid down upon deer 
skins, by a good fire, and slept well. I trusted to my dogs 
for security. In the morning I feasted upon venison, and 
conversed with several of the Indians upon a variety of 
subjects, particularly upon the good will which ought to 
prevail among mankind, without any reference to a differ- 
ence of complexion. The Indians were very desirous of 
obtaining my dogs, and would have given me a very high 
price for them. I did not know but that they might wish 
me out of the way, for the purpose of procuring them. 

[57] The appearance of the village is interesting. It is 
situated upon a plain, and contains about one hundred 
huts. Through the centre of the village runs a narrow 
serpentine creek, which affords, in summer, an abun- 
dance of fish. On one side of the plain is a thicket of 
bushes, and on the other a pleasant rise of land. The 
name of the Creek is Tonewanto, and that of the tribe 

Although in some little degree civilized, with respect to 
arts, this tribe are still deplorably superstitious. Once a 
year they sacrifice two white dogs to their deity, after 
painting them, decorating them with ribbons, and danc- 
ing around them. The sacrifice consists in burning the 
dogs, and scattering their ashes to the winds. The cere- 
monies generally continue fourteen days, and end in a 

The Tondanwandeys worship the sun, and also bury 
their dead in the morning, that the deceased persons may 
have time before night to reach their relations in another 
world. In the grave they place the clothes, pipe, dish, 

'" The modem name is Tonawanda Creek. It rises near the northern boun- 
dary of Wyoming County, New York, and enters Niagara River ten miles north 
of Buffalo. The Indian village was part of a reservation containing seventy 
square miles retained by the Seneca, when in 1797 they sold their lands to the 
Holland Company. — Ed. 

I 54 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

spoon, &c. of the deceased, thinking that they will be 
wanted in a future state. Over the graves of their friends 
these Indians make a hideous howl. This tribe detest 
lying and stealing; and those who are innocent of these 
crimes are supposed to go to their relations in a better 
world, where there is a milder sky and plenty of game. — 
Those, on the contrary, who are guilty of these offences, 
wander from place to place, and seek their friends in vain. 
These are their ideas of future rewards and punishments. 

The Tondanwandeys are much troubled with the sup- 
posed existence of witchcraft; and not long since they 
burned one of their women upon the suspicion of her pos- 
sessing such power. 

We need not go to the Islands of the Pacific Ocean for 
singular manners and customs. We find [58] them here, 
and it is evident that the manners and customs of all tm- 
civilized countries are, in many particulars, very similar. 
Some of them are dictated by nature, some arise from 
accident, and some are the effect of tradition. 

Notwithstanding the ignorance of the Tondanwandeys, 
in one particular they leave civilized men far behind 
them: they will not suffer any spirituous liquors to be 
brought into their village. This is an instance of policy 
and self-denial of which even Sparta might have been 

The language of these Indians appears very much like 
that of the savage tribes of the North West Coast of Amer- 
ica. Most of their sounds are either guttural or nasal; 
but principally the former. Their voice in conversation 
is unpleasant; and particularly so in singing. The tones 
of the women, however, are soft and agreeable. 

The language of this tribe contains but a few simple 
words; they therefore express new ideas by combinations 
of terms, connected with such gestures, and other accom- 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 155 

paniments of speech, as comport with the real or fancied 
nature of the subject. 

It is not uncommon for these Indians to travel fifty 
leagues from home for the purpose of hunting. They em- 
ploy the principal part of the summer in the chase. In 
autumn they again engage in the business. This is their 
most important season, on account of the greater relative 
value of furs. During the winter they return home, laden 
with peltry, smoaked flesh of various kinds, and the fat 
of bears. Last season they were very successful. 

In hunting, Indians are exceedingly industrious and in- 
defatigable; but in every other employment they are very 
indolent. It is probably owing to the latter circumstance, 
that they suffer their women to be the hewers of wood, and 
the performers of other servile work among them. From 
this practice has, [59] probably, arisen the idea, that 
Indians treat their wives with severity. 

The belief of the Tondanwandeys, relative to a future 
state, is very simple and interesting. The death of friends 
is one of the greatest trials of life ; and is calculated to pro- 
duce the happiest influence upon the human heart. It 
alienates our affections from this world, and directs them 
to the happy abode of departed spirits. The desire of 
meeting our friends in a better state of existence renders 
Heaven doubly dear to us; and combines at once the ten- 
derness of affection, the hope of glory, and the fear of God. 
The poor Indian fears nothing so much as the permanent 
)^"'L of his friends; and finding them in a better world con- 
stitutes, with him, the bliss of Heaven. 

I continued at the Indian village until about noon of the 
next day. Before leaving it, I purchased a pair of deer- 
skin moccasons. It having snowed the preceding night, 
my path through the wood was obliterated. After travel- 
ling a mile or two I became completely bewildered; and 

I 56 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

although I had a pocket compass with me, I thought it 
best to return to the village, and obtain some directions 
from the Indians; but as it was still snowing fast, my track 
in this direction could not, at length, be distinguished from 
the impression made by masses of snow, falling from the 
trees. I am unable to do justice to the solitude of my sit- 
uation. It was profound and instructive. The force of 
thought and luxury of sentiment, which the wilderness in- 
spires, is indiscribable. Here man feels, at once, humble 
and exalted. Silence^ with a voice of thunder, maintains 
the cause of virtue, and the human soul experiences the 
tranquil ardour of immortal hopes. 

Much exertion at length brought me to the place where, 
the evening before, I noticed the Indian [60] path. Having 
been plunging through the snow for some time, without 
taking any notice of my dogs, I found, when I stopped to 
rest, that one of them was missing. After waiting some 
time for his arrival, I went back about two miles, and 
fovnd him lying in the snow. As soon as I had come 
within a few rods of him, he arose and ran further from 
me, but at the same time appeared desirous of convincing 
me of his devotion, by smiles, and the wagging of his tail. 
By his manner he seemed to say: I wish to be faithful, but 
I am weary, and see no end to our travel. Lameness, 
however, was the cause of his discouragement. It ap- 
peared, that one of his feet was frozen. 

In the course of a day or two from this time, I arrived 
in the neighbourhood of the Tuscarora Indians. They are 
situated on a ridge of hills, leading to which there are sev- 
eral very romantic passes. I visited them early in the 
morning. At this time the weather was very cold, and 
there was no path through the deep snow excepting some 
imperfect tracks made by themselves. In clambering up 
these hills, walking on the narrow footing of their sides. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 157 

and supporting myself by the little bushes which had 
grown from the veins of the rocks, my mind dwelt upon 
Switzerland, and I almost imagined myself a Chamois 

When I had come within view of the village, several 
Indians were about their wigwams, but upon seeing 
me, they all entered them, and shut the doors. The 
Tuscaroras, as well as the Tondanwandeys, had been 
sacrificing their dogs, and wearing their masks, and 
their imaginations, no doubt, were rather lively. But 
whatever may have been their impressions concern- 
ing me, they appeared, at first, very inhospitable. I 
went to the door of one of the huts, into which I 
saw several Indians enter, and knocked; [61] but all 
was silence. Not wishing to be obtrusive, I then went 
to another; and here, too, all was silence. I knew not 
what to make of these appearances, and thought that 
the Indians might be preparing to shoot me through the 
door; but feeling that I had, in a state of nature, at least 
an imperfect right to seek under one of their roofs a resting 
place or a drink of water, I opened the door and walked 
in. There were here several Indians, and they all ap- 
peared timid. By my manner, however, I soon convinced 
them of my pacific disposition; and they, at length, be- 
came a little sociable. 

There is a missionary among the Tuscaroras; but I un- 
derstand that he meets with much opposition from them. 
They, like other unchristianized men, point to the bad con- 
duct of many of those, who have always possessed the light 
of revelation. — This argument is plausible; and, to them, 
it appears conclusive. In fact, however, it is very un- 
sound. There are individuals among this tribe, who 
threaten the most bloody destruction upon those of their 
nation, who shall embrace the christian religion. 

I 5 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

I may add, that we expect too much from savages, in 
relation to this subject. Before we attempt to make 
christians of them, we ought to make them rational men : 
we ought first to persuade them to adopt the manners and 
customs of civilization: we ought first to teach them the 
elements of literature. By these means their minds would 
become so enlarged and strengthened, as to enable them 
to understand the most plain and simple truths of the gos- 
pel; and in understanding they would appreciate them. 

In endeavouring to instruct savages in religion without 
taking these previous steps, little or no success can ration- 
ally be expected. The narrowness of their views prevents 
them from understanding the force of its precepts; and 
therefore they will prefer [62] their own superstitions to 
what they consider ours. Savages, with respect to this 
subject, should be treated like little children ; their letters 
should first be taught them, and then their catechism: — 

"God sees from whole to part; 
But human soul, must rise from individual to the whole." 

The Tuscarora Indians emigrated from North Carolina 
very early in the seventeenth century, and were adopted 
by the Oneidas." It is said that they were, originally, of 
the same nation. 

Soon after my little excursion to the Tuscaroras, I ar- 
rived at Lewistown ; the place which made so great a figure 
in th e news-paper annals of the late war." It is a very 

'* A brief account of the Tuscarora migration may be found in Long's Voy- 
ages, vol. ii of our series, note 12. — Ed. 

^ The first building on the site of Levdston was constructed by La Salle's 
party in December, 1678. In spite of the protests of Governor Burnet of New 
York, Joncaire established (1720) a small French trading post at this point, 
"a kind of cabin of bark, where they displayed the king's colors." It was soon 
replaced by a blockhouse inclosed by palisades; but after Fort Niagara was 
rebuilt (1726), this post was allowed to fall into decay. Lewiston was sur- 
veyed (1798) for a village site by the Holland Company, and in 1800 contained, 
about ten families. It was a port of entry from 181 1 to 1863. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 159 

small village. Opposite to this place, across the river Ni- 
agara, are the heights of Queenstown. The portage, ren- 
dered necessary by the falls of Niagara, commences at 
this part of the Straits; this being the head of ship navi- 
gation from Lake Ontario. 

From Lewistown I proceeded down, along the east bank 
of the river, to Fort Niagara." Colonel Pinkney, who 
commanded there, is a man of a noble aspect and elegant 
manners.^^ From him and his lady I experienced a hos- 
pitable and kind reception. Whilst at the Fort I was sur- 
prised to find that the River Niagara and Lake Ontario 
never freeze. This is a fact of which I was ignorant. 

On the opposite side of the Niagara, is the field where 
Gen. Brock fell; and on this side is the monument of 
Colonel Christie: — 

"I have seen a tomb by a roaring stream, 
The dark dwelling of a chief." 

Colonel Christie was a truly brave and devoted soldier; 
and General Brock, though a foe, was distinguished for 
conduct, courage and humanity." [63] Fort Niagara is sit- 

^ For the early history of Fort Niagara, see Long's Voyages, vol. ii of our 
series, note 19. — Ed. 

** Ninian Pinckney, brother of the statesman William Pinckney, was bom 
at Baltimore (1776), and entered the United States army in 1799. Serving as 
aide to General Wilkinson in 1813, he was promoted the following year to the 
rank of Ueutenant colonel. He also gained some fame as a writer, by publishing 
(1809) Travels in the South 0} France, which "set all the idle world to going to 
France to live on the charming banks of the Loire." He died at Baltimore ia 
1825.— Ed. 

" October 13, 181 2, the American regular troops. Lieutenant-colonel 
Christie commanding, crossed the Niagara River, and stormed and captured 
Queenstown Heights, six miles from its mouth. General Brock, hastening 
with reinforcements to the aid of the British, was killed and his troops driven 
back. But the American militia refused to cross the river to support the regu- 
lars and the battle being renewed, the latter were finally surrounded and com- 
pelled to surrender. For a brief biography of General Brock, see Buttrick's 
Voyages, ante, note 6. 

Colonel John Christie, bom in New York City in 1786, was a graduate of 

1 60 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

uated on the east bank of the river of this name, at its junc- 
tion with Lake Ontario. This is a very important post. 
The Fort was built by the French in 1751 ; and in 1759 it 
was taken by the British General Johnson, after defeating 
the French army near that place. The vicinity of the 
Fort was, originally, the peculiar country of the Iroquois, 
or Six Nations. As to the causes of Lake Ontario, never 
freezing, it is evident that they must be local and peculiar. 
Lake Erie, which is not so far north, freezes hard. This 
circumstance shows, that congelation does not depend so 
much upon latitude, as upon other circumstances. Ab- 
stractedly it is otherwise; but relative to peculiar local 
causes the position is correct. In Hudson's Bay, the 
weather in winter is intensely cold ; yet this place is only in 
the latitude of London. It is generally supposed to be 
intolerably cold at the North Pole; but the fact may be 
otherwise. The idea arises from an abstract survey of 
the nature of latitude, and from connecting it with the 
known temperature of a particular situation. It is 
known to be very cold in that part of Greenland 
which lies on the coast of Baffin's Bay; and the 
inference drawn is, that the weather is much more so 
at the North Pole. But, it may as well be said that 
because it is cold on the river Piscataqua, it is much 
more so on the river Thames; and yet here the fact con- 
tradicts the argument. In some places under the Equa- 
tor, the weather is as mild in summer as it is in New Eng- 
land ; why therefore, may it not be as warm in winter at the 
North Pole, as in the latter place ? In point of analogy 
the question is unanswerable. But there is a more direct 
argument: in some situations under the equator, there is 

Columbia College, and in 1808 gave up the study of law to enter the army. 
For the courage and skill displayed in the battle of Queenstown he was ad- 
vanced to the rank of colonel, March, 1813. j. He died the following July from 
the effects of a wound received in the battle. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrtous Tour 1 6 1 

perpetual snow. I am aware, however, that this depends 
upon altitude. It is said that there is everlasting ice at the 
North Pole; [64] but the assertion cannot be correct. The 
surface of the North Pole consists either of land or ocean ; 
if land it cannot become ice, and if ocean it must continue 
in a liquid state; for no ocean has ever been known to 
freeze: the depth of its water, and its perpetual undulation 
prevent such effect. Besides, in north latitudes as far as 
eighty or eighty-two, sea fogs are known to prevail, and 
these too prevent the congelation of the ocean. 

The influence of the sun upon the various parts of the 
earth, during its annual motion, is not yet fully under- 
stood ; and the effect of local causes adverse from or co- 
operative with such influence is yet to be learned." 

As to the mountains of ice, which have been seen in 
north latitudes, and which have been mentioned as evi- 
dence of the perpetual frost of the North Pole, they, prob- 
ably, floated from some neighboring bays, such as Baf- 
fin's, Hudson's, &c. and were formed by the accumula- 
tion of several masses of ice, which were created on the 
surface of these bays, and also by the additions of snow and 
rain. This last idea seems to be sanctioned by the fact, 
that from these mountains, as they are called, rivulets of 
fresh water, produced by their gradual dissolution, have 
been known to distil from their summit. 

"Local and peculiar causes," with respect to climate, 
do, in all probability, operate every where. It is, in many 
cases, as cold in lower, as in higher latitudes. In the lati- 
tude of the Island of St. Joseph, " it is as cold in winter, as 
it is at Quebec. One of the great causes of a diversity of 

*• It is the intention of the writer to attempt, as soon as he can make the 
necessary arrangements, to penetrate to the North Pole, and to find a North- 
West passage by land. — Evans. 

'^ This is an island of Ontario ^ the channel between Lakes Superior and 
Huron. — Ed. 

1 6 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

climate, beyond that which is produced by latitude, may 
be found [65] in the difiference between land and sea air; 
and yet this cause may, in some cases, be so controuled by 
an adverse cause, as to be rendered inoperative. Upon the 
first idea, however, it may be warmer at the North Pole 
than on the Arctic Circle; indeed, in the former place, the 
weather may be quite moderate, even in winter. Another 
circumstance in support of this supposition may be ad- 
duced: it is well known that the earth itself is productive 
of heat. In the United States, its temperature is, perhaps, 
from thirty to fifty degrees. At the North Pole, the sur- 
face of the globe must be, during a part of the year, heated 
to a much greater degree; even allowing, as will be proper, 
for the difference between the capacities of land and water, 
to imbibe heat. At the Poles, the heat of their surface, 
during those months in which the sun, as to them, does 
not set, must be intense; and for this heat to evaporate, 
would require a considerable time, even during the total 
absence of the sun. In Russia, vegetation is so rapid, that 
the work of sowing and reaping is frequently accomplished 
in six weeks; and in the latitude of eighty, the heat in sum- 
mer is so great as to melt the pitch in the seams of vessels, 
to such a degree as to endanger their safety. 

In advancing the foregoing theories, respecting local 
and peculiar climate, for the purpose of throwing some 
light upon the unfrozen state of Lake Ontario during the 
winter season, I have, perhaps, taken too extensive a range; 
but the subject is, in its nature, inexhaustible. My con- 
cluding reflections upon this topic, will have a more par- 
ticular application to it. 

Some of the causes of Lake Ontario never freezing are, 
probably, the depth of its water, and its exposure to winds. 
Frost is, in its nature, heavy; and therefore shallow water 
gets chilled sooner, and [66] sooner freezes. As soon as the 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 163 

surface of water becomes impregnated with frost, its weight 
presses it to the bottom, and a new supply rises to take its 
place. Thus, a revolution is continued, until the whole 
mass becomes chilled to a certain degree, and then the sur- 
face congeals. The necessary quantity of cold in the mass, 
to produce this effect upon the surface, is about thirty de- 
grees. The depth of Lake Ontario is very great. At- 
tempts to ascertain its depth have, in many places, been 
in vain: various parts of the centre have been sounded with 
a line of three hundred and fifty fathoms, without success. 
It must require a great degree, and a long continuance of 
cold, so to chill so deep a body of water, as to produce the 
congelation of its surface. 

As to the influence of wind, it produces, as has been 
observed, an undulation of water, so as to prevent that 
regular operation of frost, which is necessary to congela- 
tion. The land on the north east of Lake Ontario, is 
low; and the Lake is frequently agitated by storms. 

As another supposed cause of the unfrozen state of this 
lake in the winter season, it may be presumed that there 
are beds of salt at the bottom of this body of water, which 
neutralize, in some measure, the elements of frost, as they 
descend beneath the surface. There are numerous salt 
springs on both sides of the Lake, and in its immediate 

Further: there is reason to believe, that there are warm 
springs in the bed of this lake. In the vicinity of it, on the 
Canada side, hunters frequently meet with spots of ground, 
about two or three acres in extent, the surface of which 
is, in the winter, entirely free from snow; and yet these 
spots are surrounded with snow to the depth of six or 
eight feet. Upon these places the snow, when it falls, in- 
stantly [67] melts, both that which falls upon the ground, 
and upon the trees. 

I 64 l^arly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

I may add, that there are in several parts of N. America, 
particularly in the Missouri Territory, springs, the heat of 
which is about one hundred and fifty degrees. Such 
springs may exist in the bed of Lake Ontario, and if so, 
they would go far to prevent the influence of frost. 

Whilst at Fort Niagara, several little anecdotes occurred 
which, perhaps, are not worth mentioning ; they may, how- 
ever, afford a momentary interest, and thereby reward me 
for exposing myself to the imputation of egotism and 

When I arrived at the Fort, I was much weather-beaten; 
and, according to the sea-phrase, it was high time for me 
to put into some harbor and repair damages. Just before 
reaching this post, I understood that Colonel Pinkney 
commanded there; and notwithstanding the roughness of 
my appearance, I wished to become acquainted with him. 

I have always thought it both proper and politic for a 
gentleman, in a strange place, if he makes himself known 
at all, to introduce himself to men of the first considera- 
tion; and after this step, to leave them to take the lead in 
every thing respecting their cultivation of his acquaintance. 
Under such circumstances, if the persons to whom he in- 
troduces himself are gentlemen, he will be treated well, 
and they will consider his confidence in them a compli- 
ment; but if they should not treat him with due respect 
and attention, he may well pride himself in his superiority, 
and pity their false views of true greatness. 

Upon entering the Fort, I met an Irish soldier, who 
seemed to possess all the characteristic hospitality and 
friendship of his countrymen. He, by my request, very 
readily conducted me to the Colonel's [68] quarters; and, 
no doubt taking me for a man of his own cloth, said: 
''w ]arih ye shall want for nothing hare; I can geve ye a 
good bade, " &c. I repeatedly thanked the honest fellow. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 165 

and excused myself by saying that I should stop only an 

At the Colonel's quarters, I requested his waiter to in- 
form him, that a stranger wished for the privilege of in- 
troducing himself. The waiter, being a spruce lad of 
seventeen, no doubt thought much better of himself than 
of me : it being not easy for one in common life, and of but 
little experience, to perceive a gentleman under so rough 
a garb as was mine. The servant probably represented 
me to the colonel as being either an Indian, or some old 
hunter from the Canada shore. The first idea might well 
exist : as, having travelled many days in the eye of a high 
wind, my complexion had become very dark. But, 
however this may have been, the servant returned with 
an answer, which rather moved my yankee spirit: the 
colonel wished to know whether I could not inform him, 
through the waiter, of what I wanted. I replied, em- 
phatically, no; and added, tell colonel Pinkney again, that 
a stranger wishes for the privilege of introducing himself. 

Before the servant's return, the Irishman had obtained 
a brother Pad to come and see the man in fur. After 
staring at me for a minute, the new-comer said — ' * sare, 
ar ye last ? " I looked at him with a steady aspect, and 
replied, emphatically, lost ?-lost ? The fellow dropped 
his eyes and drew back, his comrade, at the same time, 
declaring, in true Irish lingo, ^^hy St. Patrick, ye^d batre 
mind what ye're about! — that mon has got more sanse in 
his latle fanger than we've in both of cure hades. ' ' This 
unexpected compliment was no less gratifying to my van- 
ity than contributive to my amusement. 

In a moment after, the colonel's waiter returned ; [69] and, 
in rather a surly manner, said, "you may go in now. ' ' I 
approached the parlour door, which was nearly shut ; and 
here placing myself upon its threshold, and gently push- 

1 66 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

ing the door fully open, I made my bow — ; at the same 
time taking off my cap, and bringing my rifle to an order. 
WhUst in this situation, I said, Sir, I have the misfortune 
to be an entire stranger to you; but I have taken the lib- 
erty to introduce myself. The colonel received and en- 
tertained me in a very liberal and polite manner; and even 
invited me to sojourn with him for some days. Having, 
however, conversed with him, upon a variety of topics, for 
about a half hour, I arose, told him my name, place of resi- 
dence, destination, &c. and bade him farewell. 

Opposite to Fort Niagara, on the Canada side of the 
river, is the town of Newark. It is a considerable settle- 
ment, and contains some handsome buildings. Just above 
this place on the same side of the Niagara, is situated Fort 
George.^* From Lewistown to Lake Ontario the river 
Niagara may well be termed beautiful: it is about one third 
of a mile wide, is deep enough to float the largest ships, and 
its current moves silently about three mfles an hour. The 
banks of the river present a pleasant appearance ; and the 
Heights of Queenstown afford an interesting view of the 
adjacent country. The distance from Lewistown to fort 
Niagara is about seven miles. Above the latter are the 
famous five-mile meadows.^^ They are very smaU; but 

^* For an account of Fort George, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, note 7. 

The village of Newark was about a quarter of a mile from this fort. It was 
settled by Loyalists immediately after the Revolution, and was then called 
West Niagara. When, in 1792, the province of Upper Canada was created, it 
was made the capital, and Governor Simcoe took up his residence there, chan- 
ging the name to Newark. The Americans captured it (May, 1813), and held 
the place until the following December. Before leaving, Brigadier-general 
McClure ordered it to be burned, and all the houses, to the number of one hun- 
dred and fifty, were laid in ashes. When it was rebuilt after the war, the 
name Niagara was adopted. — Ed. 

'• Bordering the river, five miles above Fort Niagara, is a flat more than 
sixty feet lower than the surrounding territory. Here the British landed on 
the night of December 18, 1813, and the following day surprised and captured 
Fort Niagara. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 167 

little objects become great when connected with great 
events; and, upon the same principle, little men create 
for themselves temples of fame, which the weight of a fly 
might crush. 

Upon leaving the fort I proceeded back to Lewistown; 
and, after dark, pursued my way towards Niagara Falls. 
Sometimes, when not near any habitation, [70] I travelled 
from day-light to twelve o'clock at night- My object in 
taking this course, was, so to shorten the nights, as to 
render my situation during them more secure, and less 
uncomfortable. So heavy, frequently, was the travelling, 
that with great exertion I could not, during this period, 
progress more than twenty miles. During my walk from 
the fort, along the bank of the river, I reflected upon the 
battle of Queenstown, the subsequent devastations of the 
enemy upon this part of our inland frontier, and the im- 
policy of our so generally employing militia. The next 
day I made a minute of my ideas upon the subject, and 
now introduce them with some additions. I am aware, 
however, that in taking this step, I shall oppose a national 
prejudice ; but I do it because, however much a man may 
wish for the good opinion of his fellow-citizens, he ought 
to regard the interests of his country more. In every thing 
excepting in the too general employment of militia, our 
government has, in a greater or less degree, profited by 
experience. But in this particular, we seem to have been 
unduly influenced by our too general idea of a standing 
army : — an idea which at once calls forth ten thousand 
vague apprehensions, and condemns, without the cere- 
mony of a hearing, every suggestion of reason. We are 
not children; and it is high time to put aside bug-bears. 
Our prejudices against standing armies are natural, and, 
in some respects, salutary; but in fleeing from the water, 
let us not run into the fire. Fact is sometimes less unpleas- 

1 6 8 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

ant than apprehension. Are we ignorant, that we have al- 
ready, always have had, and always shall have a standing 
army ? By a standing army, I mean a force raised for a 
permanent purpose, and having no exclusive relation to a 
state of war. Such a force, under the existing disposition 
of man, is essential to the security of every [71] govern- 
ment, however peaceful may be its policy. The only ques- 
tion upon this subject, is, — how large our regular army 
ought to be ? Here we are to guard against many evils, 
which might proceed from either extreme : — from a very 
large, or a very small standing army. 

By a very large standing army, the counsels of the na- 
tion might be too much influenced by the private interest 
and feelings of military men; unpatriotic ambition might 
employ this force to the worst of purposes; its maintenance 
would be inconsistent with rational economy; and an un- 
necessary part of our population would, comparatively, 
be kept in idleness. 

But, both security and true economy require, that we 
should have an established, permanent, and well organ- 
ized force, sufficiently numerous, and ready at a mo- 
ment's warning to meet, with success, the invaders of our 
land ; or to reduce, with promptitude, our Indian enemies. 
These are the first objects of such an establishment; the 
others are, — to furnish a national standard of military tac- 
tics; to make, in a short time, real soldiers of our militia, 
when a sudden necessity for a great army shall call them 
into actual service; and lastly, by mingling both kinds of 
force, to afford the militia support and confidence in the 
hour of battle. 

As to our militia, they should be instructed for the sole 
purpose of enabling them more effectually to defend their 
own fire-sides, and of furnishing a nursery for the ranks 
of our regular army, whenever enlistments into them 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 169 

shall be necessary. Courageous as our militia are, they 
are not, generally speaking, an efficient force; and by em- 
ploying them as a substitute for regular troops, we un- 
necessarily increase expence, sacrifice valuable lives, 
and expose at once, the safety and the reputation of the 

[72] I have a very high opinion of the courage of my 
countrymen; but courage without discipline always, ex- 
cepting in cases of bad conduct on the part of the enemy, 
results in general confusion, and individual sacrifice. By 
employing militia in actual service, we throw away the best 
and most productive part of our population. If the na- 
tion could see the dreadful aggregate of our militia, who 
have fallen victims to the dangers and diseases of the 
camp, merely because they were militia, there would be a 
general mourning; and the nation would forever abandon, 
in relation to this subject, its present policy. It is a sys- 
tem dictated by false ideas of economy, by a too general 
eulogy of our militia, and by groundless fears with respect 
to a regular force. 

Our militia have, at times, performed wonders; but they 
have likewise often been the cause of defeat and disgrace. 

We ought not unnecessarily to employ militia in actual 
service. To do so is to be careless of our population; and 
our population is our wealth. Great-Britain cannot sup- 
port her subjects; she may well, therefore, sacrifice them 
in unnecessary wars. Her territory is comparatively small ; 
whilst ours is almost unlimited. None of our citizens 
should be sent into the field of battle without the confi- 
dence and conduct, which discipline gives. Our militia, 
as I have said before, are the most valuable and produc- 
tive part of our population ; and they are sent into the field 
under the most unfavourable circumstances. Many of 
them have never slept a night from under their maternal 

1 70 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

roof. They have heard their fathers speak of other times, 
and their youthful hearts pant for the service of their coun- 
try; but when the novelties of the camp, the music and the 
parade of military life cease to inspire them, they lose, for 
a time, much of their enterprize [73] and spirit. This very 
circumstance disposes them to disease; and this very cir- 
cumstance tends to render disease fatal. They are en- 
tirely unaccustomed to the habits and employments of a 
camp ; and their health is greatly exposed, by means of the 
number of troops collected, by being encamped in insalu- 
brious situations, and by modes of living, to which they are 
entirely unaccustomed. In a time of peace, new recruits 
may be located in small numbers, in healthy situations, 
and the habits of the raw soldier be gradually changed. 

But a militia force is not efficient. Discipline is, gener- 
ally speaking, absolutely necessary to success. It pro- 
duces in battle a sense of general, and in some measure 
of individual security. The soldier in an engagement 
knows, that he must take his chance, and he is willing to 
take it ; but it is because he has a confidence in the general 
security of the army, that he stands his ground : for let him 
know that there will be a rout of his party, and he will at 
once become sensible of the extraordinary risque which he 
must run, and will endeavour to save himself by flight. 
In proportion to the discipline of an army will be the 
general and individual confidence of the troops. Be- 
sides, there is a great difference between individual and 
general courage. Individual courage is less common than 
is supposed. A party of men may fight pretty well in 
company, when, as individuals, they would, under similar 
circumstances, act a cowardly part ; it is a sense of mutual 
support, which checks their fears, and furnishes them with 

Where there is discipline, — where every individual feels 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 171 

that he is supported by all the rest, — this gives him con- 
fidence; and confidence is force. 

Among militia the cowardice of a few will disorganize 
the whole; and when broken and hard pushed, [74] it is 
impossible for them to rally. But regular troops, when 
broken, can, in ordinary cases, readily form again; and, 
although their ranks may be thinned by the fire of the 
enemy, they are immediately filled, order is maintained, 
the army, though reduced, is still an army; and, although 
overpowered, they fight, not like a rabble, but like true 
soldiers. Their manouvres too, upon which the result of 
an engagement much depends, are performed promptly, 
and in order. Indeed, a soldier, in a well disciplined army, 
is a mere machine ; he is a part of a perfect whole, has no 
will of his own, and moves only by the direction of his 
commanders. Had our force, at the attack upon the city 
of Washington, been of such a class, what a glorious de- 
fence would have been made !^° They would have planted 
themselves before it, and in the name of every thing dear, 
and sacred, and terrible, would have resisted its unprin- 
cipled invaders. 

Our militia, as has been observed, sometimes perform 
wonders; but these are exceptions to a general rule; and 
exceptions are a poor ground for the establishment of a 
general principle. In a pell-mell contest, militia will fight 
with effect, because the mode of fighting is, on both sides, 
of the same kind. Here our militia would prevail over 
that of any other nation. And were our troops always 

^"August 17, 1814, a British force under Major-general Ross landed at the 
mouth of the Potomac and marched leisurely toward Washington. The city 
was entirely without defense. Two thousand men having been collected from 
the surrounding country and a thousand regulars assembled, the British were 
met (August 24) at Bladensburg — five miles northeast of Washington. Re- 
sistance was brief, the Maryland militia fled, followed by the remainder of the 
troops. Ross entered Washington without further opposition, and burned the 
public buildings. — Ed. 

172 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

well disciplined, they would always, excepting in cases of 
accident, overcome the regular troops opposed to them. 
These effects would arise from the people of this country 
possessing more animal vigour, and more moral force than 
any other people. 

Our militia may soon be made good soldiers, because 
they are intelligent, and have already received some mili- 
tary instruction. I speak of them in comparison with the 
militia of other countries. Much discipline, and the scenes 
and avocations of the [75] camp should be familiar to sol- 
diers, before they are brought into the field. By teaching 
them their first lessons, at the point of the bayonet, im- 
mense sacrifices are made, both of reputation and of blood. 

The expence too of maintaining a militia force, is much 
greater than that of supporting a regular army. The for- 
mer must be more numerous than the latter; and, of course, 
their wages and provisions must amount to more. 

Our military establishment should, to say the least, be 
sufficiently large to enable us to move, whenever neces- 
sary, a well organized, well disciplined, and efficient force 
against our savage neighbours. Such a kind of force is 
the only proper one to meet the fatigues and dangers of In- 
dian warfare. It is time for the nation to be heart-sick of 
inefficient military efforts, defeat and massacre. The In- 
dians may be conquered; but the genius of a Jackson, 
thousands of Tennesseeans, much time, and a vast ex- 
pence should not, in this country, be requisite to over- 
throw a few hundred Seminoles.^^ A well organized, and 

*' This is hardly a fair illustration. The difficulty was, that the Seminole 
stronghold was on Spanish territory, and it was Jackson's boldness in invading 
neutral territory, pursuing the Indians into the swamps, and seizing the Spanish 
posts, that ended the war. He entered Florida late in March, 1818; after five 
days' march, he reached and destroyed the Indian village, Fowltown; took pos- 
session of St. Marks, April 6, and then marched one hundred and seven miles 
across a swampy wilderness to Suwanee — the town of the Seminole chief Bow- 
legs. The Indians had been warned and had retreated, but he burned the 
village, and the war was ended as far as the Seminoles were concerned. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 173 

well appointed force of one thousand men could effect 
such an object in thirty days after leaving the proper place 
of rendezvous. — I say one thousand men, because a large 
force is more decidedly efficient than a small one. Militia, 
under ordinary circumstances, are put into the utmost 
confusion by the whoop, and yell, and onset, of Indians; 
and then a total butchery of them ensues. But let a regu- 
lar force be employed, and order and firmness will resist 
the most furious, and unexpected attack; and the next 
moment they will march on to victory. Our celebrated 
fourth regiment at the battle of Tippecanoe proves this 
position. ^^ But for them, this engagement would have re- 
sulted like those of Braddock and St. Clair. 

The honour and the safety of the nation, demand [76] an 
ample and well organized military establishment. With 
the love of liberty, and every other circumstance in our 
favour, we have often, by only an equal force, been de- 
feated; and this effect arose from our want of discipline. 
The nation must have such a force as can be depended 
upon : — such a force as will fear a departure from disci- 
pline more than the bayonet of the enemy. Such a force 
can be obtained only by offering to our best population, 
both officers and soldiers, such compensation and advan- 
tages as will, not only induce them to engage in the service 
of their country, but such as will be in themselves so fully 
adequate, as to render the service respectable. A consid- 
erable part of the expence of such an establishment, might 
be defrayed by employing the troops in making roads, and 
in other internal improvements. This business would 
keep them from idleness, inure them to labour, and render 

^' When on the morning of November 7, 181 1, the Indians attacked General 
Harrison's camp and thus opened the battle of Tippecanoe, the militia were for 
a time thrown into confusion, while the Fourth United States Infantry under 
command of George Rogers Clark Floyd, stood their ground. After the cam- 
paign was ended the latter more than hinted that had it not been for them the 
whole force would have been massacred. — Ed. 

174 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

them acquainted with those implements, which are em- 
ployed in pioneering, and in fortification. 

The present administration are, no doubt, disposed to 
promote the respectability and safety of the nation; and 
the opposition have always been in favour of a consider- 
able military and naval establishment. The experience 
gained by our last contest with Great-Britain cost us much; 
and it ought not to be forgotten. Both political parties in 
this country agree, that in peace we ought to be prepared 
for war. That I do, however, consider war between na- 
tions, seldom necessary, and a practice which places 
human nature upon the most humiliating ground, will 
fully appear when I reach, in the course of my tour, 
those fields of carnage which forcibly speak to the 
lone traveller. 

The rapids of the river Niagara commence at a little dis- 
tance above the celebrated falls, and terminate near the 
narrows opposite to Lewiston. Between [77] these two 
places the distance is about seven miles. 

That I might have a full view of the scenery in the vicin- 
ity of the falls, I travelled, during the evening of my leav- 
ing Fort Niagara, only two miles beyond Lewistown. 
Early the next morning I moved on, glowing with antici- 
pation. The lofty and rude banks of this part of the 
river, the deafning clamour of the falls, and the huge 
clouds of vapour which arose from them, inspired me with 
a new and indiscribable emotion. The day too was dark, 
windy, and wild. Yet the sun shone bright; — but the 
darkness did not comprehend it. 

Owing, perhaps, to the excitement occasioned by these 
circumstances, I expected too much. I confess that I 
was disappointed, both with respect to the height of the 
falls, and the quantity of water propelled over them in a 
given time. There is, however, in their eternal roar, 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 175 

a nameless solitude. For ages this roar has been cease- 
less; and it seems to speak of perpetual duration. 

The rapids just above the falls, excited much interest. 
Dark, furious, and perplexed, they rush on as though eager 
for destruction. Here the imagination suddenly becomes 
aroused, and with a sombre, yet vivid glance, surveys the 
opposite, and renowned plains of Chippewa and Bridge- 
water ;" — then returning to the rapids, it hears, in the 
voice of their fury, the half-drowned vow of the warrior, 
and sees, in their mist, his falling steed, and brandished 
falchion. The trees near the falls were all prostrated by 
the weight of congealed vapour; and seemed to worship, 
most devoutly, the Great Author of this grand spectacle. 
A lovely, yet fearful rainbow, arched the river below; and 
numerous gulls, were obscurely seen sailing through the 
thick exhalations which filled the whole space to [78] the 
Canada side. — Charon and his boat only were wanted to 
complete the scene. 

How impressive is the grand in nature ! It withdraws 
the human mind from the trifling concerns of time, and 
points it to its primeval dignity, and lofty destinies. 

There are three divisions of the falls; and they are 
occasioned by two islands situated in the river. The 
whole describes a crescent. One of the islands is about 
four hundred yards wide, and the other about ten yards. 
Perhaps the whole width of the islands and falls, 
including the curvatures of the latter, is three quarters of 
a mile. The height of the principal falls is about one 
hundred and fifty feet; and the descent of the rapids, 

^ Major-general Brown having crossed Niagara River (July 3, 1814) and 
captured Fort Erie, General Riall marched to attack him. The two forces met 
(July 5) on the plains of Chippewa, midway between Forts George and Erie, 
and after a sharp skirmish the British retreated to Queenstown. The impor- 
tance of the battle was overshadowed by that of Lundy's Lane, which occurred 
the same month. — Ed. 

176 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

above the largest of them, is about sixty feet. One can 
hardly avoid personifying this rush of water; meeting, as 
it does, huge rocks and trees lying in every direction, and 
seeking, with a wild and furious velocity, a passage to 
the falls. Breaking and foaming, the rapids take a thou- 
sand courses, and with a restive spirit, seek the abyss 
below. The obstructions of the rapids appear to dis- 
pute their passage; and the whole scene is fury, uproar 
and destruction. The vapour, arising from the rapids, 
adds to the sublimity of the scene, by the obscurity with 
which it clothes their tremendous concussions. 

The icicles, pending from the sides of the banks con- 
tiguous to the falls, are, in the winter season, so tinged 
with the sulphurious particles which are mingled with 
their strata, as to present, when stricken by the rays of 
the sun, a scintillating and bluish glare. 

A more particular account of the falls is deemed unim- 
portant. I have endeavoured to give such a description 
as comported with my ideas and feelings, whilst in view 
of them. These falls are, no doubt, a great natural curi- 
osity; and they will excite in all [79] much admiration 
and awe. But many of the descriptions which travellers 
have given of them, are erroneous in point of fact, and 
ridiculous in point of imagery. An English writer says, 
that their ' ' noise and vapour would scarcely be equaUed 
by the simultaneous report and smoke of a thousand 
cannon." It is true, that the roar of the falls can at times 
be heard for thirty miles, or perhaps further; and that 
their exhalations have been seen at the distance of ninety 
miles; but these circumstances exist only under peculiar 
states of the atmosphere, and the causes of them produce, 
upon the spot, a much less comparative effect. The 
falls, however, are indeed tremendous; and they consti- 
tute the only visible discharge of four vast inland seas. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour lyj 

Tradition says, that the falls of Niagara have, for a 
great length of time, been receding; — that they were 
originally situated at the foot of the rapids near Lewis- 
town, a distance of seven miles from their present posi- 
tion.^* This idea is no doubt correct. Masses of rock 
must, from time to time, have been shaken from the top 
and sides of the falls, by the continual abrasion of the 
rapids. It is to be presumed, that the falls will continue 
to move up towards Lake Erie; lessening the waters of 
the upper lakes, and increasing those of the lower, in 
proportion as the descent of the bed of the river above 
the present situation of the falls may be greater, and the 
obstructions in it less. In the course of many centuries, 
the faUs will, probably, reach Lake Erie itself; in which 
case the upper lakes may be partially drained, and Lake 
Ontario be overflown. It has been asserted, that this lake 
fills once in seven years. As to the time, this must be a 
whim; but there is reason to believe that the lake occa- 
sionally fills, because its sources are numerous and great, 
its discharge is not very ample, and high north-east winds, 
which frequently prevail here, retard the [80] progress of 
the water towards the river St. Lawrence. 

I may here more particularly notice Lake Ontario. Its 
length is about one hundred and seventy miles, and its 
breadth about sixty miles. It contains a great many 
islands, nearly all of which are situated at the easterly 
end of the lake. The principal islands are Amherst, 
Wolf, Gage, and Howe. The land on the north-east 
coast of this lake is low, and in some places marshy; 
near Lake Champlain, however, the country is somewhat 

'* It is held that Niagara Falls have receded seven miles from their posi- 
tion when first knoven, the average yearly recession being from four to six 
feet. — Ed. 

178 Karly Western Travels [Vol.8 

One of the islands in the river Niagara, of which I have 
spoken as contributing to a division of the falls, is called 
Goat Island. It belongs to Judge Porter, and contains 
about eighty acres.^^ Its soil is excellent, and its timber 
valuable. From the main land to this island a bridge has 
recently been built; and I understand, that a hotel is 
soon to be erected on the island, for the accommodation 
of those who may visit the falls. 

The whole length of the river Niagara is about thirty- 
eight miles. Its width is various. From Lewistown to 
the falls it is very narrow, its banks high, and its bed con- 
sists of solid limestone. Above the falls the river, in 
some places, is three miles wide, and contains several 
large islands. Here its banks are low. At the ferry, 
about two mUes from Lake Erie, the river is only about 
one mile wide; and near the falls it again contracts, and 
thereby so compresses the water as greatly to increase its 
velocity. The average depth of the river is from twenty- 
five to thirty feet. The rapidity of its current, from the 
ferry to within a short distance of the falls, is about 
six miles an hour; but just above the former its motion 
is much quicker. The navigation of the river, above the 
falls, is very dangerous. 

The principal of the islands just mentioned are 
[81] Navy, Grand, and Buck-horn. The growth of tim- 

'* Augustus Porter, brother of General Peter Porter, was born at Salisbury, 
Connecticut, in 1769. When twenty years of age, he left home for western 
New York, becoming a surveyor in the Phelps and Gorham Tract, and later 
in the Holland Purchase. In 1806, he removed with his family to Niagara 
Falls, where he continued to reside until his death in 1825. In association 
with three others, he formed the Portage Company, which leased from the 
state for fifteen years the exclusive privilege of transporting property across the 
portage between Lewiston and Schlosser. He was the first judge of Niagara 
County, opening his first term at Buffalo in 1808. The unusual length of his 
life enabled him to see the country, through which he had travelled for days 
without meeting a white man, develop into a populous agricultural and (fom- 
mercial region. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 179 

ber upon them is principally hard wood, and their soil is of 
a superior quality. Grand island is fifteen miles in length. 

From the falls of Niagara I proceeded to Buffalo. 
The distance from the former place to Black Rock, is 
about twenty-two miles. ^' The way to it is through a 
gloomy wood, between the trees of which one may occa- 
sionally see the river. Here the aspect was dreary. The 
snow was still very deep; the weather cold, windy and 
wild; the river presented a green appearance, was par- 
tially covered with masses of ice, and violently agitated by 
the spirit of an approaching storm. In this situation I met 
three Indians. We were thinking of a shelter. — We passed 
each other, only with a mute and sympathetic glance. 

In the vicinity of the Lakes Ontario and Erie deeper 
snows fell, during the last winter, than had ever been 
known there; and the severity of the cold was without a 
parallel. Many people on the Lakes, and in the woods 
were frozen to death. A hunter, who went into the wood 
for an afternoon, was so frozen as to render necessary the 
amputation of his feet ; and it was not uncommon, in the 
upper part of the state of New- York, to see men, in conse- 
quence of the frost, moving upon crutches. 

It may be well for me here to mention some additional 
facts, in relation to the country through which I have 
passed since leaving Vermont. The face of it, from the 
Green Mountains to Niagara River, is rather level than 
mountainous; there are, however, many high and steep 
hills. On both sides of the Mohawk north and south, 
and from sixty to one hundred miles west from Albany, 
there are a number of considerable hills. In the vicinity 
of these, particularly near Scoharie, the soil is of an 
inferior [82] quality. West of this to Lake Ontario is an 

^' For a brief account of Black Rock and Buffalo, see Buttrick's Voyages, 
ante, notes 4 and 9. — Ed. 

i8o Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

extensive level, interspersed with gradual and gentle swells. 
Some of the slopes are extensive, and result in spacious 
flats, many of which are very rich. This is particularly 
the case on the Genessee. The north-easterly part of the 
State is hilly, and even mountainous; but some portions 
of this section of the country, especially near Black River, 
is very fertile. West of the Genessee, and more decidedly 
so in the vicinity of Buffalo, the soil is not remarkably 
good ; but on both sides of the river, along Lake Ontario, 
the land is much better. In various other parts of the 
state the soil is almost inexhaustibly rich; but, as is the 
case in all extensive tracts of country, there are here some 
poor lands. Generally speaking, the state is of immense 
force in point of agriculture ; and the means of conveying 
it to market are ample. North and South, the Hudson, 
possessing a deep stream and gentle current, extends 
from New- York, the great maratime depo of the state, 
to the mountains between Lake Champlain and the St. 
Lawrence. From about the centre of this river, north 
and south, the Mohawk reaches to within a very short 
distance of Lake Ontario; and between Lake Cham- 
plain and Lake Erie, east and west, there are a great many 
small lakes and rivers, which tender their waters to the 
public spirit of the state. It is the object of New York 
to draw to herself the trade of Vermont and the Canadas. 
The western part of this state, was, during the revolu- 
tion, inhabited by the Six Nations of Indians, among 
whom were the Mohawks, a fierce and powerful tribe. 
Most of these nations aided the British during this great 
contest; and the state, in many places, suffered much 
from their ravages.'' 

" The Oneida alone remained neutral, and in consequence suffered severely 
at the hands of the Mohawk, who burned their villages and drove them to 
seek shelter at Schenectady. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour i8i 

The land in this state is generally well timbered. The 
principal growth is the several kinds of oak, [83] sugar and 
curled maple, walnut, beech, black and white ash, birch, 
hickory, bass, sassafras, and several other kinds. One 
cannot but regret the loss of so much excellent timber, as 
is destroyed in our new settlements by clearing. 

All the western waters are well stored with fish and 
fowl. Those of the former in Lake Ontario are princi- 
pally white fish, and black bass ; and in some of its tribu- 
tary streams, there are salmon ; but they are of an inferior 
quality. In the west too, large quantities of sugar are 
made from the sap of the maple; and in the woods are 
found bee hives containing an almost incredible quantity 
of honey. A kind Providence has also provided for our 
brethren of the west, innumerable salt springs, which 
produce fine white salt. This article can, in some cases, 
be bought at the works, at twenty cents a bushel. 

The day after leaving Niagara Falls, I arrived at Black 
Rock, proceeded on to Buffalo, and following a creek of 
this name, crossed a bay of Lake Erie on the ice. I should 
have crossed the Niagara at Black Rock, for the purpose 
of viewing Fort Erie, but the wind was so high that no 
boat could have reached the opposite shore. This was a 
great disappointment to me. My heart had prepared a 
laurel for the warrior's tomb. — The graves of Gibson 
and W ood tell us how to die for our country.^* The pri- 

'* For the early history of Fort Erie, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, note 5. 

Eleazer Derby Wood, born in New York City (1783), a graduate of West 
Point (1806), served in the West during the early part of the war, having con- 
ducted the defense of Fort Meigs, and commanded the artillery at the battle 
of the Thames. He was killed in General Brown's sortie to raise the siege of 
Fort Erie (September 17, 1814), and a monument to his memory was erected 
by that general at West Point. 

James Gibson, who also died from a wound received in this sortie, was a 
native of Sussex County, Delaware, and a graduate of West Point. He had 
been in the battle of Queenstown Heights; was made a colonel, and in July, 
1813, inspector-general of the army. — Ed. 

1 8 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

vate soldier too, humble in station, yet lofty in spirit, 
deserves the tribute of a tear. — I must say more in his 
behalf: comparatively speaking, his sufferings have been 
unnoticed, his gallantry unrewarded, his grave neglected. 
Who achieves our victories ? — the private soldier. What 
fills the breach in the ramparts of his country ? — his 
dead body. In eulogizing and rewarding the leaders of 
our armies, let us not forget the more frequent sufferings, 
and the equal merits of the private soldier. 

[84] The battles of Chippewa, Niagara and Erie, are 
full of fame. 

On my way to Buffalo, I passed Fort Schlosser,'^ and 
also a small battery at Black Rock. Here the traveller is 
sensibly impressed by the contrast, between the present 
solitary aspect of the adjacent country, and the scenes 
which it presented, during those military operations here, 
which furnish so bright a page in the records of American 
prowess: — then, the splendour and roar of battle! — Now, 
the death-sleep of the warrior, and the crimson shroud 1 

The distance from Black Rock to Buffalo is only two 
miles. The latter place was destroyed by the enemy 
during the last war;^" but since then it has been rebuilt, 
and now contains many elegant houses. Buffalo is a con- 
siderable place for business. Its situation is central, with 
respect to the trade of the City of New- York, and that of 
the upper Lakes. 

^' In 1750, Joncaire built a stronghold at the upper end of the Niagara por- 
tage, which was known as Fort au Portage; but when, eight years later, 
the EngUsh advanced to invest Fort Niagara, he blew it up and retired across 
the river. At the close of the French and Indian War (1763), the English built 
a fort at this point, which they named Fort Schlosser, in honor of Captain 
Joseph Schlosser, its first commander. — Ed. 

*" In retaliation for the burning of Newark, General Riall, upon the capture 
of Fort Niagara (December, 181 3) ordered his troops to destroy all American 
settlements on the Niagara frontier. Buffalo, Black Rock, Lewiston, Schlos- 
ser, and the friendly Seneca and Tuscarora villages were accordingly burned, 
and the people driven to seek shelter at Batavia. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 1 8 3 

When I arrived at Buffalo, I had travelled twenty-four 
miles, without meeting any habitation, excepting a very 
few scattering log huts. Some of these were destitute of 
provisions; and at others of them a piece of bread, and a 
drink of water cost me two York shillings. Not far from 
this place, my dogs, knowing no law but that of nature, 
and having forgotten my lecture to them upon theft, 
helped themselves to the first repast presented, leaving 
their master to foot their bills. According to the phrase- 
ology of our Grand Juries, they very modestly "took, 
stole, and carried away" a piece of beef of the weight of 
three pounds, with an intention to convert the same to 
their own use. Hue and cry was immediately made, not 
by the Hundred, nor by the Posse Commitatus, but by 
the power of the kitchen. Notwithstanding carelessness, 
on the part of Mrs. Vixen, was the cause of this disastrous 
event ; yet numerous apologies were tendered to her, and 
[85] her lord, for the purpose of appeasing their vindic- 
tive spirit : the thieves, at the same time, were dividing the 
spoil behind some neighbouring snow-bank. The value 
of this sacrifice to canine hunger, was of no consequence 
to the traveller; but in this rare instance, money could not 
purchase pardon; and my dogs were obliged to remain at 
some out-post until I renewed my march. 

On Buffalo creek, which I have already mentioned 
and which is connected with Lake Erie, there is an Indian 
village inhabited by the Senecas. This tribe have a nu- 
merous settlement on the Genessee river, and several 
others in the north-westerly part of Pennsylvania; but 
their numbers are rapidly decreasing, and they are prob- 
ably the most worthless tribe in North America." 

*' The Seneca Indians were the most western of the Iroquois, and during 
the Revolutionary War had their principal villages on the Genesee River, one 
of them containing one hundred and twenty-eight houses. These were com- 

184 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

In leaving BujBfalo, I crossed, as before stated, a Bay 
of Lake Erie on the ice. The distance across this Bay is 
about eight miles. For four and twenty hours previous 
to my reaching the Lake, appearances indicated a violent 
storm. It commenced as I passed through Buffalo, and 
continued until after I had crossed the Lake. Such a 
snow storm I had never witnessed ; — indeed such a snow 
storm can scarcely be imagined. There was, for hours, a 
constant whirl of snow, without the least cessation. At 
noon it was night ; the way could not be seen : — there 
was danger of perishing. 

My arrival on the other side of the Bay excited much 

Lake Erie was, at this time, fast bound in ice. The 
whole country, excepting the evergreens, presented the 
aspect of perpetual congelation. The freezing of Lake 
Erie probably arises, in part, from its being shallow. Its 
greatest depth does not exceed fifty fathoms. 

This Lake derives its name from the Eries, a tribe [86] 
of Indians once dwelling upon its borders." The scenery 
of its banks is rather picturesque. The traveller sees 
many points of land extending into the Lake ; much level 
country; and a few considerable hills. This Lake is 

pletely destroyed by Sullivan's expedition (1779); but although the English in- 
vited them to cross into Canada with the Mohawk, they refused to go, and a 
considerable number settled near the mouth of Buffalo and Cattaraugus creeks. 
When in 1797 the Holland Company purchased the Indian title to their lands, 
the Seneca retained reservations at these points, also the Allegheny and Tona- 
wanda reservations already mentioned {ante, p. 153), and five smaller ones in 
the Genesee valley. In 1838 pressure was brought to bear by the Ogden Land 
Company, and certain chiefs signed a treaty ceding their lands in New York, 
Congress at the same time granting them lands in Indian Territory. The 
body of the people, however, refused to move; the New York and Pennsylvania 
Friends interested themselves in their behalf, and they were allowed to re- 
main. — Ed. 

^ The history of the tribe known as the Erie or Cat Nation is obscure and 
involved, and their habitat uncertain. See Jesuit Relations, viii, p. 305; xxi, 
pp. 313-315.— Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 185 

about three hundred miles in length, and seven hundred in 
circumference. Following the course of it, on the Amer- 
ican side, the distance is full four hundred miles. The 
growth of timber here is, generally, similar to that east of 
Buffalo; but the soil is of greater fertility, and of easier 
cultivation. It contains too, considerable limestone ; and 
much animal and vegetable substance. On the American 
side of the Lake there is an abundance of game. 

The islands of the Lake are numerous. Some of them 
are Grose Isle, Isle Bois Blanc, St. George's, Ship, San- 
dusky, Turtle, Put-in-Bay, and the Three Sisters. 

In some of these islands there are subterraneous pas- 
sages, which abound with petrifactions. In that called 
Put-in-Bay there is a considerable cave, which I shall by 
and by describe. 

On the 26th of February I had commenced the long and 
solitary way, bounded on my right by Lake Erie, present- 
ing an ocean of ice, and on my left by a vast wilderness. 
In looking back I remembered toUs and privations, which 
had put my resolution to the test; and in contemplating 
the prospect before me, the swamps of the Sandusky and 
Miami forcibly presented themselves. Along the Ameri- 
can side of the Lake, especially the lower part of it, there 
are many townships; some of them, however, are very 
inconsiderable, some are known only on paper, and be- 
tween the former are large districts of country in a wilder- 
ness state. Some of the settlements are visited in the 
summer season by small vessels on the Lake. 

[87] In travelling from Buffalo to Detroit, I marched 
upon the Lake about fifty miles. Sometimes I travelled 
near its margin, and sometimes at the distance of thirty or 
forty miles from it. These numerous courses were taken, 
to enable me to see various parts of the country, and also 
for the purpose of obtaining game. 

1 86 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

The New- York line, west of Buffalo, is about forty 
miles from this place. The principal creeks within this 
line, and which are connected with Lake Erie are Eighteen 
Mile, Catheraugus and Silver Creek. Near to the mouth 
of the Catheraugus is another settlement of Seneca 

The State of Pennsylvania is bounded by this Lake for 
the distance of about fifty-miles. The land here is very 
good. Presque Isle, situated about twenty miles from the 
New- York line, is a considerable village, and will become 
a place of importance." 

Until about the first of March the weather was unin- 
terruptedly severe; and although the country is generally 
infested with bears and wolves, and furnishes almost 
every kind of game, I had not, previous to this period, 
seen any thing, relative to this particular, worthy of remark. 
All nature, fast bound in the icy arms of winter, was mute. 
I looked towards the Lake, but it spake not. I asked a 
reason of the trees, but even their branches did not whisper 
to me. — The traveller was the only living thing. Upon 
the bosom of the Lake he could see, that in the very frolic 
of its waves, a sudden and bitter chill had fixed in disap- 
pointment the smile of its delight. — Thus man, in the 
unsuspecting season of happiness, feels the deadly pressure 
of unrelenting sorrow. 

Leaving the Pennsylvania line, I entered the celebrated 
Connecticut Reserve, called New Connecticut. 

[88] The original charter of Old Connecticut embraced a 
large section of that part of the North-West Territory, 
which lies south of Lake Erie. In 1786 this state ceded 
to the general government all her territory west of Penn- 
sylvania, excepting the tract now constituting New Con- 

^ For the early history of Presqu' Isle, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of 
our series, note 62. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 187 

necticut. This tract is bounded North by Lake Erie, 
South and West by Ohio, and East by Pennsylvania. It 
is 120 miles long and 72 broad; making about 4,000,000 
of acres. The country here is level, with occasional 
swells; and the soil is a rich loam and clay mixed with 
sand. It contains no small stones; but ledges and quar- 
ries are numerous. It abounds in various kinds of hard 
wood ; but pine is seldom seen here. With emigrants, this 
tract of land is in high repute. 

The principal rivers in New Connecticut is the Grand, 
and Cayahoga.''* The latter enters Lake Erie about forty 
miles east of the river Huron. On its banks is situated a 
village, inhabited by the Cayuga Indians. The river is 
navigable for boats; and its mouth is wide and deep 
enough to receive considerable vessels from the Lake. 
The mouth of Grand River is about seventy yards wide; 
but there are obstructions to its navigation, particularly at 
its mouth. 

Early in March I experienced a long storm of rain. My 
garments, after a while, became wet; which circumstance 
rendered my situation uncomfortable. I travelled, during 
the whole of the storm, in the belief that continual motion 
was necessary to preserve my health. No one can take 
cold in the worst of weather, during an active arterial cir- 
culation. It is in a sudden check of this impetus, that 
severe colds are experienced, and diseases contracted. 

Having passed several small rivers, besides the Grand 
and Cayahoga, I arrived, on the 4th of March, at Rocky 
River. The weather was stiU rather [89] moderate, and 
thinking it would be dangerous to cross this stream 
upon the ice, I passed along its southerly side and went 
upon the Lake. This course was fortunate, inasmuch as 

** For the Grand, Cuyahoga, and Rocky Rivers, see Croghan's Journals^ 
volume i of our series, notes 70, 72, and 73. — Ed. 

I 8 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

it placed me in a very interesting situation. It was late 
in the afternoon when I reached the Lake ; and it was my 
intention to travel upon it until the evening, and then 
pass into the woods. Soon after leaving the river, how- 
ever, I found the banks of the Lake very high and steep. 
I pushed on. This tremendous ridge of perpendicular 
rock proved to be several miles in length. I was not 
aware, that it was the celebrated scene of storms, ship- 
wrecks, and savage offerings. Night approached. The 
prospects around me were sublime. I was upon a glare 
of ice. Upon one side was a congealed ocean, apparently 
unlimited, and on the other a gloomy bank fifty feet in 
height, entirely perpendicular, and pending from which 
were huge icicles. — I speak within bounds: they were 
twenty feet in length, and as large as a hogshead. The 
severity of the weather had been unparalleled. It had 
rained, — it had frozen. The night was dark. To ascend 
the banks was impossible : — they seemed to be the ever- 
lasting battlements of nature! The weather was still 
moderating; the ice of the Lake cracking in every direc- 
tion, and producing a noise like distant thunder. The 
solitude of my situation was profound. I was in the 
midst of a world, and it appeared to have been made but 
for one man. I walked with caution, hoping yet to 
meet a ravine in the banks. At length I heard, at a little 
distance, a sullen stream pouring its scanty waters 
into the hollow Lake. I paused, — was bewildered, — 
was lost. The stars presented a gloomy aspect, and shed 
an inefifectual light. My situation was truly enviable! — 
There is a charm in desolation ; and in the season of danger, 
the human [90] soul triumphs in the conviction of its own 

After being apprised of the existence of the stream, I, 
with much caution, moved upon my hands and knees 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 189 

towards the shore, presuming that there was a valley 
through which the stream entered the Lake, and by which 
I might reach the summit of the bank. I soon affected 
this object, and entered the wood. I did not, however, 
sleep much: my imagination had become active, and I 
passed most of the night in weaving the web of fancy. 

The adventure of the preceding evening was calculated 
to call forth much enthusiasm. This, I know, is a term 
which alarms the ear of dullness; but the indulgence of 
this native quality of the heart is not inconsistent with the 
due influence of the understanding. What is it but an 
admiration of those principles of mind, and those views 
of nature, which may be traced to that Being in whom is 
the perfection of every great and good attribute ? Upon 
a vicious, or mean object it never looks but with the eye of 
compassion and sorrow. I may be permitted to enlarge 
a little upon this subject. 

Enthusiasm is the reverse of mental and moral insensi- 
bility. In the home of the heart it trims the lamp of intel- 
lect, and pants after true greatness. In mind it perceives 
perennial existence, and in matter only the temporary and 
humble dwelling place of its discipline. Immortality is 
the holy land of its aspirations, and disinterestedness the 
altar of its sacrifices. In self controul it displays its 
power, and the obedience of the passions is the trophy of 
its victories. All Nature is the temple of its worship, and 
in the inspiration of its hopes it fiinds the source of its 
humility. During the convulsions of the physical world, 
it sits in the composure of faith, and in the awe of admira- 
tion. In religion it dwells with [91] humble rapture upon 
the Star of Bethlehem, and gratefully acknowledges the 
spirit of grace. In philanthropy it sees in every man a 
brother, and loves to do him good. In patriotism it 
views, in the tombs of ancestors, the sanctitv of home; and 

1 90 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

in the protection of innocence, it courts a bloody sacrij&ce. 
In love too, its happiness is productive of piety, and the 
tenderness of its sentiments is equalled only by the purity 
of its motives. 

The day after leaving the Lake the weather was cold 
and windy. After travelling some mUes in a south- 
westerly direction, I entered a beautiful and solitary 
wood. It had more the appearance of an improved forest 
than of a wilderness. In this wood I sat down to make 
some remarks in my journal. I generally stopped two 
or three times a day for this purpose; — sometimes sitting 
on a stump, sometimes under a tree, and sometimes by 
the side of huge masses of ice near the shores of the Lake. 
A record of passing scenes and events should immediately 
be made by the traveller. By delay, their impressions 
upon his mind become less legible, and then art must sup- 
ply, in some measure, the place of nature. 

The rain storm, and the moderate weather of which I 
have spoken, covered many places in this part of the coun- 
try with water to the depth of several feet. Here low 
grounds and prairies made their appearance, and wading 
over them, through snow, and water, and ice, was both 
laborious and painful. 

The weather having again become cold, the surface of 
the snow congealed to a hard crust, so that my moccasons 
and socks became completely worn through, and my feet 
much swolen. I deemed it advisable, as the remains of 
my moccasons and socks were no security to my feet, and 
at the same [92] time retarded my progress, to throw them 
aside and travel barefooted. From this mode of travel- 
ling I found no serious inconvenience. At length, how- 
ever, my feet swelled to an alarming size; but believing 
that rest alone would remove the evil, and not being willing 
to afEord myself much, I concluded to abandon them to 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 191 

that possible remedy, which is incident to the crisis of dis- 
ease and the influence of habit. I now travelled with even 
more industry than before; and in the course of a few 
days the swelling was entirely reduced : this experiment, 
however, was not very pleasant; especially, after a few 
hours rest. 

I am confident that people, who are exposed to want 
both of food and clothing, and also to pain, suffer much 
less than is imagined; and particularly so if their minds 
are engaged in any interesting undertaking. Man may, 
by habit, render almost any situation tolerable; and I 
agree with Seneca, that if our sufferings are not very 
great we can bear them with firmness; and if they are 
very great we shall soon be relieved from them by death. 
During at least one half of the time employed in perform- 
ing my tour from New-Hampshire to Detroit, I was 
afflicted by the tooth-ache; but notwithstanding this cir- 
cumstance, and also the toils and privations which I expe- 
rienced, I do not remember a moment, during this period, 
in which I did not possess a balance of pleasure. The 
solitude which surrounded me, the novelty of my situation, 
and the interesting prospects which frequently presented 
themselves, often rendered me very happy. 

In the course of a day or two after adopting my new 
mode of traveUing, I was so fortunate as to meet with sev- 
eral Indians, and of them I purchased a pair of deerskin 
shoes. Indian women often accompany the men in their 
hunting expeditions; and [93] one may frequently see them 
in the woods employed in dressing Deer and Elk skins, 
and in making shoes of them. They use the sinews of 
animals and the fibres of the inner bark of trees instead of 

The weather was stiU rather severe, and the water be- 
neath the surface of the snow and ice exceedingly cold; 

192 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

my health, however, continued good; and the only diffi- 
culty with which I had to contend was a want of provisions. 
Sometimes I could not seasonably find game; sometimes 
could not meet with even an Indian cabin; and sometimes 
even here scarcity and want existed. 

In this part of the country, although generally level, I 
met with several very steep hills. 

Soon after passing Black River, ^^ an inconsiderable 
stream, the weather again became more moderate; and 
the sun shone pleasantly. I reached a hunting ground; 
and here game was very plenty. Black and grey squir- 
rels, partridges, quails, and deer were numerous. Five 
or six of the latter were situated not far from me in a little 
thicket. My garments of fur caused them to look upon 
me with rather an inquisitive than fearful aspect. I had 
never seen wild deer before, and they appeared too inno- 
cent for death. I was only half disposed to shoot them ; 
and whilst I was musing upon this interesting group, they 
saw my dogs, and bounded delightfully over the hills and 
rivulets. My dogs voluntarily pursued them, and brought 
one of these guileless animals to the earth. 

It is truly unpleasant to survey that lengthy, and com- 
plicated chain of destruction, which supports animal life. 
From the animalcula of physical nature to Behemoth 
himself, there is, mutually or exclusively, perpetual car- 
nage. Man, although a compound being; — altho' pos- 
sessing a moral as well as a physical nature, is the great 
devourer. He revels, in [94] pride and in luxury, upon 
the animal world; and after feasting high, employs him- 
self in the butchery of his own species. Such is the aber- 
rative power incident to his free agency. 

The destruction of animal life is necessary to the secur- 

** This stream drains Medina and Lorain counties, Ohio, entering Lake 
Erie about thirty miles west of Cleveland. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrious Tour 193 

ity, and perhaps to the health of man; but the life and 
comfort of animals should never be trifled with. It is the 
only life which they can live; their little light, once put 
out, is extinguished forever. 

Upon leaving the hunting ground I passed Vermillion 
River." It is inconsiderable, but abounds with fish. The 
weather had so moderated, that there was much danger 
in passing it on the ice. The soil near this river is of a 
very fertile quality. It is diversified with levels and gentle 
swells; and is covered with a valuable growth of hard 
wood. The sugar maple greatly abounds here, and vast 
quantities of sugar and molasses are produced from its 
sap. Here too are frequently found bee-hives containing 
from 100 to 200 pounds of honey. Many kinds of nuts 
also grow here in great abundance; and the swine in the 
woods are very numerous. The boars sometimes become 
wild and fierce, and are hunted with horses and dogs. 

I have observed, that the land, in the vicinity of Buffalo, 
is not so good as that which is east of it. The soil appears 
to become better and better after crossing the Pennsyl- 
vania line; and especially after reaching Vermillion River. 
Previous to my arrival here, however, I could, owing to 
the snow, judge only from the situation of the land, the 
growth of timber upon it, and from information occasion- 
ally obtained. 

On the 8th of March I passed Huron River. *^ The 
weather was moderate, the snow and ice melted very fast, 
and I crossed a rapid freshet on logs. The traveller, after 
having long marched through deep snows, and after hav- 
ing experienced all the severities [95] of winter, sees, in 

** For the Vermillion River, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of our series, 
note 76. — Ed. 

" The Huron River rises in northern Ohio, and flowing northwestward 
empties into Lake Erie about nine miles east of Sandusky. — Ed. 

194 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

the thawing winds of spring, the hand of a watchful and 
kind Providence. "He casteth forth his ice like morsels; 
who can stand before his cold ! He sendeth out his word, 
and melteth them; he causeth his wind to blow and the 
waters to flow." 

Soon after leaving this river I crossed vast prairies, all 
of which are rich, but some of them are too wet for culti- 
vation. The best of these prairies are from two to three 
feet deep, consisting of a rich black mould, and having a 
pan of limestone. A team of four yoke of oxen is neces- 
sary to plough them. The most proper series of crops is, 
first wheat, secondly corn, and then, lying fallow, the 
land will produce a spontaneous growth of fine grass, 
which answers every necessary purpose of fodder in this 
part of the country. Innumerable cattle may be fed on 
these prairies in summer, and, generally, they may subsist 
here during a considerable part of the winter. An un- 
limited quantity of coarse hay may be cut here ; growing, 
as it does, spontaneously, and in great abundance. By 
cutting it, the growth becomes less coarse, and more secu- 
lent and palatable. 

Cattle in this part of the country are, in the summer 
season, very fat ; but a great many of them die of disease, 
and often very suddenly. Last winter they suffered 
greatly from the severity of the season, and the want of 
fodder; and during the early part of last spring many of 
them were in a perishing condition. 

Crops of wheat here are very good ; and the best of the 
land produces from 40 to 60 bushels of com an acre 
without manure. Indeed manure is never used here. In 
time, however, the natural fertility of the soU will become 
less; and farmers would do well, even here, to yard their 

At present, provisions in this part of the country [96] 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 195 

command a high price. The numerous emigrations 
thither produce a scarcity. Along the south shore of 
Lake Erie the markets will, for some time to come, be 
very good. Depos of provisions are established here by 
the farmers of New- York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio; and 
vessels on the Lake transport them, during the spring and 
fall, to Detroit and other places. Although the cultivator, 
in the immediate vicinity of Detroit, meets with every 
encouragement, agriculture there is very little attended to ; 
the consequence is, that produce to a large amount finds, 
from abroad, a ready market in that place. 

I now consider myself in that part of the state of Ohio 
which lies west of the Connecticut Reserve. 

Of considerable portions of the country, which are situ- 
ated between the Huron and Sandusky rivers, I entertain 
a favourable opinion; other parts of it, however, are too 
swampy for cultivation. There are many fine tracts from 
the Pennsylvania line to the last mentioned place. 

The Deer in the vicinity of the prairies, of which I have 
been speaking, are very large. Some of them weigh 
from 150 to 200 pounds. Wild turkeys too, are here 
numerous, and they sometimes weigh from 20 to 30 
pounds. But facts like these unduly affect the imagina- 
tion. These kinds of game cannot always be found ; the 
toils of the chase are frequently unrewarded; and many 
who have settled in the west with lively feelings upon this 
topic, have abandoned this precarious source of profit. 

For several days I have been employed in crossing vast 
prairies. The weather continued moderate, the snow, 
water, and mud were deep, and wading laborious. I 
frequently met with considerable freshets, and the banks 
of the creeks were overflown. Here I saw vast flocks of 
wild geese flying towards [97] Sandusky Bay. Their 
hoarse notes, proceeding from the misty air, rendered 

196 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

even more solitary a trackless and almost illimitable plain 
of high and coarse grass. I was repeatedly lost in these 
prairies; and found it necessary to calculate my way by 
compass and maps. 

Within about twenty miles of the famous Black 
Swamp,^* I entered, late in the afternoon, a dark wood in 
a low and wet situation. The weather being moderate, I 
continued to travel until very late in the evening. About 
12 o'clock at night my dogs contended with a herd of 
wolves and were both slain. The winter, until within a 
few days, having been very severe, the wolves, probably, 
were very hungry and ferocious. It is said, that in this 
part of the country they are very numerous and bold. 
From the manner in which the contest commenced, I am 
inclined to believe, that the wolves, having issued from 
their dens, had come to feast themselves. Previous to the 
rencounter, all was perfect silence. My dogs were near 
me, and without the least noise, which I could perceive, 
the war commenced. It was sudden and furious. 

I had, for hours, been experiencing a most excruciating 
tooth-ache; and my sense of hearing was considerably 
affected by it. But when the contest began, I, for a mo- 
ment, forgot my infirmities, seized my gun, encouraged 
my dogs, and marched forth in the most lively expectation 
of achieving some great victory. It being, however, very 
dark, the bushes being thick, and the voice of the battle 

** The Black Swamp, extending from the Sandusky to the Maumee River, 
and covering an area of over one hundred and twenty miles in length and an 
average of forty in width, was entirely avoided by early settlers in northern 
Ohio. By the Indian treaty signed at Brownstown (1808), the United States 
government acquired a strip of land to make a road through the swamp; but 
nothing further than the preUminary surveys being accompUshed, the land was 
later transferred to the State, and the first road completed in 1827. It was 
very Uttle settled before 1830. In accordance with a state law passed in 1859, 
a system of pubhc ditches was introduced, which rapidly drained the swamp 
and transformed it into a fertile agricultural region. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrious Tour 197 

beginning to die upon my ear, a sense of my sufferings 
returned, and I sought repose in my tent. But I found no 
repose there : the whole night was employed in endeavour- 
ing to assuage with gun powder and salt, the only appli- 
cations in my power, an almost insufferable tooth-ache. 

[98] My dogs never returned from the strife. I had lost 
the faithful, and disinterested partners of my toil. I could 
not leave so interesting a place. For two nights and one 
day I remained upon the spot ; — but for what, I did not 
know. In the listlessness of sorrow I fired my rifle into 
the air. At length I realized, that my dogs had fallen 
nobly; and the sentiments of grief found a solace in the 
dictates of pride. 

As the fate of my dogs is interesting I may be permitted 
to spend a moment in their praise. 

They were not, like the hounds of Sparta, dewlaped 
and flewed; but they possessed the acuteness of these, 
with the courage of the mastiff. They were very large, 
and accustomed to the strife of the woods. Tyger was 
grave and intrepid. Small game excited in him no inter- 
est; but when the breath of the foe greeted him in the 
breeze, he surveyed, at a glance, and with a lofty aspect 
the surrounding wood. Slow, steady, and firm in pursuit, 
he remained silent until the object of his search was found ; 
and then, a cry more terrible than his 

"Was never hallowed to, 

Nor check'd with horn in Crete or Thessaly." 

He had lost an eye in the battles of the mountains, and 
was, in every sense of the word, a veteran. 

Pomp was active, generous, affectionate, and in courage 
and perseverance unrivalled. In the night, it was his 
custom to pillow his head upon his master's breast; and 
he ever seemed concerned to guard him from the dangers 
of an unsheltered repose. 

198 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

Perhaps too I may here notice some traits in the charac- 
ter of the wolf. The countenance of this animal evinces 
both cunning and ferocity. The length of his body is 
generally about four feet, the legs from fifteen to eighteen 
inches, the circumference of [99] the body from two and 
an half to three feet, and the tail sixteen inches in length. 
The colour of the wolf is a mixture of light and brown 
with streaks of grey. His hair is long, rough, and very 
coarse ; his tail is bushy, something like that of a fox, his 
body is generally gaunt, his limbs are muscular, and his 
strength very great : with perfect ease he can carry a sheep 
in his mouth. 

The cunning and agility of this animal are equal to his 
strength; and his appetite for animal food is exceedingly 
voracious; — so much so, that he often dies in pining for 
it. When his hunger is very imperious, even man be- 
comes the object of his ferocity. His sense of smelling is 
so acute, that at the distance of three leagues, a carcass 
will attract his attention. The wolf is a very solitary ani- 
mal; and never associates with his species but for the 
purpose of attacking a human being, or some animal of 
which he is individually afraid ; and when the object of 
the combination is effected, each retires sullenly to his 

It appears by the early stages of English history, that 
wolves in England have been so formidable as to attract 
the particular attention of the King; and even as late as 
Edward the first, a superintendant was appointed for the 
extirpation of this dangerous and destructive animal. 

I may add that not long after the loss of my dogs I 
reached, just before night, a solitary log hut ; and in about 
an hour after a wolf howled at the door. 

Leaving the field of battle, I moved on towards San- 
dusky rapids. My health had suffered by fatigue and 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 199 

want of sleep. The weather was still moderate; and the 
water, rushing through the vallies, seemed to sing the 
requiem of my lost companions. My lone steps too, 
through the streams, forcibly reminded me of their 

[100] In the course of the day I passed over the low and 
swampy grounds, and the prospect became a little diver- 
sified. A few small yet steep hills presented themselves. 
Here the soil is fertile and the growth of timber elegant; 
upon one spacious rise of ground near these, however, there 
are a few scattering oaks, and the soil is thin and sterile. 

The following night I heard the howling of some beasts 
of prey, and apprehended an attack. I newly primed my 
gun and pistols; but my ragged domicil was not invaded. 

A day or two after, I reached Sandusky Rapids." The 
land in the vicinity of this river is very fertile. The hill, 
a little west of the river, is high, and its summit constitutes 
a vast plain of rich land. A town, I understand, is here 
to be laid out. The soil below the hill, on both sides of 
the river, is also very rich; but the situation is too low to 
be pleasant, and must, I think, be unhealthy. On the 
west of the river are a few scattering houses. The river 
at the rapids is about thirty rods wide ; and when I crossed 
it, it was full of floating ice. The velocity of the current 
was great. Sandusky Bay is situated about eighteen 
miles below the rapids; and Upper Sandusky lies about 
forty miles above them.^° Upon this river are situated 
several tribes of Wyandot and Seneca Indians; and the 

*' These rapids of the Sandusky River were located about eighteen miles 
from where the river empties into Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie. — Ed. 

'" Upper Sandusky was formerly the seat of a Wyandot settlement. Near 
there, Crawford was defeated by the Indians (June, 1782) and subsequently 
tortured to death. General Harrison built a temporary fort at that point dur- 
ing the War of 1812-15. For the Wyandot villages on the Sandusky, see 
Weiser's Journal, volume i of our series, note 26. — Ed. 

200 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

United States derived from them by the treaty of Green- 
ville, two small tracts of land lying upon the banks of the 
above mentioned river and bay." 

At a little distance from the western bank of the lower 
rapids of this river is Fort Sandusky, which was, during 
the late war, so nobly and effectually defended by the 
youthful Croghan." I examined this post with much at- 
tention and interest. Its means of annoyance must have 
been in itself, inconsiderable ; but the genius of a Croghan, 
supported by one [loi] hundred and sixty patriotic and 
unyielding spirits, defended it against the repeated 
and embittered efforts of five hundred British regu- 
lars, and seven hundred Indians, aided by several gun- 
boats and some pieces of artillery. The beseiged had 
only one six pounder. This they masked until the 
enemy leaped into the ditch, and then it swept them 
with dreadful carnage. This defence is beyond praise. 

After remaining at Sandusky a few hours I entered the 

" For the events leading up to the treaty, see ante, note 1 1 . It was signed 
(August 3, 179s) by ninety chiefs and delegates from twelve tribes, and estab- 
lished the following Indian boundary line : up the Cuyahoga River and across 
the Tuscarawas portage to a point near Fort Laurens, thence southwest to 
Laramie's Station, thence northwest to Fort Recovery, and thence southwest 
to the Ohio, opposite the mouth of the Kentucky River. — Ed. 

" This stockade, better known as Fort Stephenson, was constructed in the 
spring of 18 13. In August following, it was attacked by General Proctor as 
here related. The British troops stormed it fiercely for two hours, all their 
officers and a fifth of their men being killed or wounded. 

George Croghan, a nephew of George Rogers Clark, was born at Locust 
Grove, near Louisville, Kentucky, November, 1791. Graduating from Wil- 
liam and Mary's College (1810) he entered the army and took part in the bat- 
tle of Tippecanoe. He so distinguished himself at the siege of Fort Meigs that 
he was promoted to the rank of major, and placed in charge of Fort Stephen- 
son. For his gallant defense of this post, he was voted a medal by Congress. 
After an unsuccessful attack on Fort Mackinac (1814), he left the army for a 
short time and acted as postmaster at New Orleans. In 1823 he re-entered the 
army, was made inspector-general with the rank of colonel, and later served 
with distinction in the Mexican War. See Wilhams, "George Croghan," in 
Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publications, xii, pp. 375-409. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 201 

celebrated Black Swamp. It was in its very worst state. 
In my journal I observe, that I will not attempt to de- 
scribe it. There was an unusual quantity of snow and 
ice upon the ground; and the weather being moderate 
the water rapidly increased. The distance across the 
swamp is forty miles. The wading was continually deep, 
the bushes thick, and the surface of the earth frozen and 
full of holes. What was worse than all, the ice, not yet 
separated and nearly strong enough to bear one, was con- 
tinually breaking and letting the traveller into water 
from two to four feet in depth. The creeks there too are 
numerous, and the ice in them was broken up. The 
freshets were great, the banks of the creeks overflown, and 
the whole country inundated. In proceeding through the 
swamp I was constantly employed in making great ex- 
ertions for nearly four days. The weight of my dress and 
baggage was a very great incumbrance to me; but my 
buffalo pantaloons were a defence against the thick yet 
brittle ice through which I was continually breaking. 

At the edge of the swamp I saw an Indian passing across 
a neck of land on the Sandusky; and I hailed him, for 
the purpose of obtaining some information as to the best 
way through this trackless wild; but he either could not 
speak English, or pretended that this was the case. It is 
said that they [102] frequently do so. Soon after, I met 
with three Indians, together with one white man. The 
white man was a little intoxicated, and had, they said, 
engaged to do some work for them but had run away. 
Whilst I was obtaining from them information as to my 
course, the white man, falling a little behind, again de- 
serted. My rifle was immediately seized by the Indians 
for the purpose of shooting him; but by great exertions 
I held it, until the man was out of sight, and then they 
desisted and pursued him. I marched on. 

202 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

Towards evening I found a small elevation of land, and 
there encamped for the night. My little fire appeared 
like a star on the bosom of ocean. Earth was my couch, 
and my covering the brilliant canopy of Heaven. After 
preparing my supper, I slept in peace ; but was awakened, 
at day-light, by a high wind accompanied by rain. Ere 
I arose, the lofty trees shaken by the tempest seemed ready 
to fall upon me. During the evening, such was the still- 
ness of the situation, and such the splendour of the firma- 
ment, that nothing but fatigue could have checked the 
current of reflection. How great are the advantages of 
solitude ! — How sublime is the silence of nature's ever 
active energies! There is something in the very name 
of wilderness, which charms the ear, and soothes the 
spirit of man. There is religion in it. — The children of 
Israel were in the wilderness, and it was a type of this 
world ! They sought too the Land of Promise, and this 
was a type of Heaven. 

The next morning I renewed my exertions. The 
weather was lowering and cold. I found it necessary to 
wade through water of the depth of four or five feet, and 
my clothes were covered with icicles. About noon I ar- 
rived at a creek, a little to the east of Charon river," and 
found much diflSculty and danger [103] in crossing it. The 
channel of the creek was very deep, and its banks over- 
flown, on both sides, for a quarter of a mile. After wad- 
ing some way, I reached the channel, and by the aid of a 
faUen tree and some floating logs crossed it; the current, 
however, was so rapid, that upon the fallen tree lying un- 
der the surface, I could scarcely keep upon my feet: a 
single mis-step would have been fatal. 

Immediately after crossing the channel, I found the 
water about four feet deep; and its depth soon increased 

^ Portage River, entering into Sandusky Bay from Wood County. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 203 

so as to reach my shoulders. Here I stopped to survey 
my situation. Although the trees in this place were large 
and scattering, I could not perceive the land. The pros- 
pect reminded me of the Lake of the Woods. After wad- 
ing up and down for some time, in the hope of finding the 
water less deep, I concluded to re-cross the channel and 
endeavour to obtain a fordable place in some other direc- 
tion ; but in attempting to return, a large and decayed log, 
upon which I had floated and upon which the impression 
of my feet had been left, could not be found. I was here 
completely bewildered. Alone, nearly up to my neck in 
water, apparently in the midst of a shoreless ocean, being 
too without my dogs, which used to swim around me 
when crossing such places, my situation was rather un- 
pleasant; the novelty of it, however, together with my 
apparent inability to extricate myself produced a resource- 
less smile. After a while, I repassed the channel of the 
creek; and finally, by much labour and with great hazard, 
reached the western shore. 

During a part of this day it rained ; and so solitary was 
the aspect of every thing around me, that a very eloquent 
idea of the pious orator of Uz naturally presented itself: — 

"To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; — 
On the wilderness, where there is no man." 

[104] The next day the weather was severe. The ice 
among the bushes had become harder; but still if would 
not bear me, and the water was exceedingly cold. Icicles 
formed upon my clothes almost immediately. I was 
continually wading in a greater or less depth of water dur- 
ing the whole day; and sometimes travelled for miles in 
three or four feet of it without cessation. Travelling 
through such a depth of water where the ice breaks at al- 
most every step is exceedingly laborious. During this day 
too, I passed several deep and rapid creeks in the usual 

204 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

way. At dusk I fell in with about twenty Indians of the 
Wyandot Tribe. They were encamped on a small rise of 
land which, however, was rather wet. They had recently 
come from the vicinity of Fort Meigs, and were travelling 
to some hunting ground. Their condition was deplorable. 
They had, the day before, buried one of their company, 
another of them was very sick, and they had no provisions. 
I had but a trifle myself, and the wants of the sick In- 
dian rendered me supperless. 

These Indians surveyed me with rather a grave and 
distant aspect; but with one of them, who could speak 
English, I became well acquainted. In the course of the 
evening some strips of bark were prepared to keep me 
from the ground; but my clothes being wet, and having 
no covering it was impossible for me to sleep. Indeed so 
cold was the night, that the next morning the swamp was 
frozen very hard. My Indian friend called himself Will 
Siscomb; and with him I conversed respecting the Great 
Spirit. During the night I perceived, that the poor Indians 
suffered much from cold, and from the smoke of their fire. 
They, however, beguiled the time by their rude songs. 

Very early the next morning I left this tawny group, 
and in the course of the day arrived at Fort Meigs. 

[105] Here the Black, or Miami Swamp terminates; 
but for fifty miles east of this tract, and for the same dis- 
tance west of Fort Meigs, the country is generally level, 
covered with trees, bushes, and long grass, and in the 
spring of the year very wet. 

I had long been wishing to see Fort Meigs; and there I 
rested, for an hour, my weary feet." The Fort is very 
large, and its situation is somewhat commanding. The 

" Across the river from the present Maumee City, Henry County, Ohio. 
This fort, built in February, 1813, was twice besieged during that year by the 
British and their Indian allies under Tecumseh, but was not captured. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 205 

Miami of the Lake runs about a half mile west of the 
Fort; and the river is here about one third of a mile wide. 

I have understood, of late, that the courage and con- 
duct of General Harrison, who commanded at Fort Meigs 
in the course of the last war, was questionable. I shall 
take the liberty to express a few ideas upon this topic, be- 
cause it is natural for one to advocate the cause of a brave 
man, whose courage has been denied, and that too, per- 
haps, by the most contemptible combination of cowardice 
and envy. 

The spirit of detraction is at once malignant and cow- 
ardly. It possesses the capacity to injure, and at the same 
time the means of shielding itself from detection. A sin- 
gle breath may tarnish the brightest character; the world, 
therefore, for its own sake, as well as for the sake of justice 
and humanity, should listen with a jealous ear to the 
tongue of slander. 

I never had the honour of seeing General Harrison; 
but what, I ask, are the grounds of the charge against 
him ? General Harrison was a fellow soldier and disciple 
of the wary and energetic General Wayne. His knowl- 
edge of military tactics is very extensive, and his courage, 
for ought I can see, is of a high order. Up to the time of 
the bloody battle of Tippecanoe, the government, no 
doubt, thought him brave ; and here he was truly so. At 
Fort Meigs too, he undauntedly maintained [106] his 
position, in the midst of a wilderness, surrounded by 
hordes of savages, headed by Tecumseh, and supported 
by regular troops commanded by the blood-thirsty Proc- 
tor. Afterwards he met and defeated the enemy at the 
River Thames. 

Probably his courage was questioned, because he did 
not, whilst unprepared, press on to Detroit, and expose his 
forces to that destruction which befel those of Winches- 

2o6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

ter." Many an ignorant militia man, and inexperienced 
young officer, would have recommended such a course. 
But Harrison, well acquainted with the requisites of an 
army, well versed in the stratagems of savage warfare, and 
knowing well the exposed situation of the frontier, thought 
best to remain where he was until his own situation, or 
that of the enemy should warrant an attempt to proceed. 
Had he marched further west, and by so doing been de- 
feated, every settlement and log hut on the southern shore 
of Lake Erie would have been ravaged, and their inhabi- 
tants, probably, consigned to savage fury. 

At the foot of the hill, upon which is Fort Meigs, there 
are a few log houses. The situation under the hill is very 
low, and the soil rich. The river here is called the Miami, 
of the Lake, to distinguish it from the Great Miami, and 
Little Miami rivers, which discharge their waters into the 

When I arrived at the Miami of the Lake, its banks had 
been so overflown as to pile up about the houses huge 
masses of ice. The water had risen so as to flow through 
the windows, and many swine and other domestic animals 
were swept from the yards. 

I found the velocity of the rapids very great ; and there 
was much danger in crossing them. The opposite bank 
is pleasantly diversified, and its soil is very fertile. Here 
Colonel Dudley, commanding [107] a detachment from 
Fort Meigs, during the last war, gallantly compelled the 
enemy to retreat; but owing to the imprudent zeal of his 
brave men, both them and himself were ambushed and 
slain." Upon this river are situated the Vermillion and 
other tribes of Indians. 

*' At the Raisin River, see post, note 63. — Ed. 

** While General Proctor was besieging Fort Meigs (May, 1813), Colonel 
Dudley with eight hundred Kentucky militia descended the rapids and sur- 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 207 

The Miami of the Lake extends above Fort Meigs to 
Fort Wayne," a distance of about one hundred miles, and 
then branches to the right and left ; one of which branches 
proceeds in the direction of the sources of the Illinois river, 
and within about fifteen miles of St. Joseph's river, which 
enters Lake Michigan; and the other in that of those of 
the Great Miami river. Between a minor branch of the 
Miami of the Lake and the Great Miami there is a por- 
tage of five miles. The name of one of the first men- 
tioned branches is St. Mary, and constitutes the river of 
this name. On this river is situated Fort Adams; and 
about half way between Fort Wayne and Miami Bay is 
Fort Defiance.^* The navigation of the main stream, for 
vessels, extends only a short distance above Fort Meigs; 
and from this place to Miarni Bay the distance is eighteen 
miles. Near this Bay is Fort Miami, which was built by 
the British in 1794." About fifteen miles beyond the 

prised the British, driving them from their battery and spiking their cannon. 
But, too elated by success to enter the fort as ordered, they pursued the enemy 
for nearly two miles into the woods and swamps, and were finally surrounded 
and captured. — Ed. 

" After the battle of Fallen Timbers, General Wayne (September, 1 794) 
proceeded to destroy the Miami villages at the junction of the St. Mary and St. 
Josephs rivers, and there built Fort Wayne. It had long been a centre of 
Indian trade, and the French had maintained a post there through the first 
half of the eighteenth century. See Croghan's Journals, volume i of our series, 
note 87. — Ed. 

" General Wayne destroyed the Indian villages at the confluence of the 
Auglaize and Maumee rivers (August, 1794), and established Fort Defiance at 
that point. On his march from Fort Recovery for that purpose, he also built 
Fort Adams at the place where he crossed St. Mary's River, at Girtystown, an 
old Indian trading place twenty-five miles north of Fort Recovery. For the 
history of the forts of Ohio, see Graham, "Military Posts in Ohio," in Ohio 
Archaeological and Historical Society Publications, vol. iii. — Ed. 

" The building of Fort Miami by the British in a time of peace between 
that nation and the United States (1794) was one of the grievances of the 
frontiersmen. After Wayne's victory, the Indians were chased to the gates of 
Fort Miami. The British surrendered this fort with the other Northwest 
posts in 1796. The Americans made the post at this place the rendezvous 
for the campaign of 1812-13. — Ed. 

2o8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

Miami of the Lake, is the line between the State of Ohio 
and Michigan territory. 

For twenty miles west of this river there are some 
rises of land, the soil of which is light, and the growth 
of timber upon them is principally white oak. In travel- 
ling this distance I crossed several creeks, with much 
difficulty and hazard. Up and down the bank of one of 
them I marched for hours before I could find a single 
tree or log to float upon. Just before reaching this creek 
a bear crossed my path; but having no dogs I could not 
overtake him. 

Soon after leaving the last mentioned creek, [io8] ar- 
rived at another, which furnished more means of crossing, 
but in the employment of which there was the greatest 
peril. A tree lay part of the way across the channel of the 
creek with its top towards me; but being very large its 
trunk had sunk far below the surface of the current, so 
that I could walk only on its crooked branches. Having 
my gun too, I could employ but one hand in supporting 
myself, and sometimes could reach no limb for the em- 
ployment even of that. After crossing a part of the chan- 
nel, I found the large end of the tree several feet below the 
surface of the water; and it was disposed to sink further. 
At the distance of several feet from the end of it was a 
high stump; and from this to the shore there was a space 
of water a few feet in depth. I could take no other course 
than to note the direction and extent of the body of the 
tree, walk quickly to its end, spring to the stump, and 
from that to the shore. I effected my object; but was 
never more sensible of the protecting hand of Providence. 
The water of the creek was exceedingly cold, and the chill 
of evening was approaching. 

It was now the 17th of March, the ground was frozen, 
and the travelling very rough and painful. In the fore- 

i8i8] Evatns Pedestrious Tour 209 

noon I passed the Bay Settlement. °" This place contains 
several scattering houses, which are occupied principally 
by French people ; and the aspect of the whole country is 
that of an illimitable marsh. Some parts of this tract of 
prairie are too wet for cultivation. A few miles east of 
the Bay there are several rises of land, the soil of which 
is light and well adapted to the cultivation of wheat. 

Towards evening I reached the River Raisin. At the 
distance of a few miles east of it, I entered the Military 
Road, of which the public papers have spoken, and which 
leads to the old roads in the vicinity of Detroit." This 
road is cut through a perfect wilderness [109] of a large 
growth of timber. It is very wide, and entirely free from 
stumps. The plan of it, and the manner in which the 
work has been executed, speak favourably of the judgment 
and fidelity of the military department. 

The travelling on this road is, in the spring of the year, 
very heavy ; and a person on foot is much annoyed by the 
sharp points of bushes which are concealed by the mud. 

At the commencement of the road the country becomes 
rather elevated, is highly fertile, is covered with a superb 
growth of timber, and is intersected with streams well cal- 
culated for mills. 

On the River Raisin stands Frenchtown, an ancient and 
considerable settlement."^ The inhabitants on the river 

" This was probably the village at the mouth of Otter Creek, forty-two 
miles southwest of Detroit. The land had been purchased from the Indians 
and settlement begun in 1794. — Ed. 

" This road, begun under the direction of the secretary of war, May, 1816, 
was built by soldiers stationed at Detroit. By November, 1818, seventy miles 
had been completed. It was eighty feet wide and contained over sixty cause- 
ways and many bridges. — Ed. 

" In 1784 a small body of French Canadians purchased land from the In- 
dians and settled at the mouth of Raisin River, forty miles south of Detroit. 
They traded in furs with the agents of the North West Company. In 1812 the 
village contained about forty-five French families and^a few Americans. It has 
now been incorporated in the city of Monroe. — Ed. 

2 1 o Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

are principally French; but the American population is 
rapidly increasing. The soil here is of an excellent qual- 
ity, and in high repute. The river, at the settlement, is 
about sixty rods wide, and it is navigable to Lake Erie, a 
distance of about twelve miles. The river has been ex- 
plored for about seventy miles above Frenchtown ; and be- 
yond this distance the country is but little known. The 
land above the settlement is said to be even better than in 
its immediate vicinity. The name of the river comports 
well with the nature of the soil; it may be rendered, in 
English, river of grapes. 

I approached this river with a light step and a heavy 
heart. Hundreds of my gallant countrymen had there 
fallen victims to British barbarity. Who has heard with- 
out horror, of the massacre at the River Raisin !" When 
I arrived at this bloody field, the snow had left the hillocks, 
and the grass began to vegetate upon the soldier's grave. 
The sun was setting in sadness, and seemed not yet to 
have left off his weeds. The wind from the north, cross- 
ing [no] the icy vales, rebuked the unconscious spring; and 
the floating ice, striking against the banks of the river, 
spake of the warrior souls, pressing for waftage across the 
gulph of death. 

In speaking of our too general employment of militia, 
I suggested, that in another place I should offer some re- 
flections upon the subject of war. 

Nothing but the influence of example, and the ability of 

" General Winchester, having reached the Maumee Rapids, did not wait 
for the remainder of the army under Harrison, but proceeded to Frenchtown, 
although his men had little ammunition and the town was unprotected, save 
for a hne of pickets. Proctor, the British general, crossed from Maiden and 
attacked him, January 22, 1813. A panic seizing one portion of the army they 
fled to the woods where they were overtaken and most of them scalped by the 
Indians; the militia at the same time surrendering to Proctor. Without pro- 
viding suflBcient protection for the wounded left at Frenchtown, this general 
hastened back to Canada, and the following morning a horde of painted savages 
broke into the town and shot and scalped the helpless prisoners. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour in 

the human mmd readily to accustom itself to crime and 
carnage, prevents us from being shocked by sanguinary 
contests between civilized communities. How astonish- 
ing is it, that nations, acquainted with the feelings and 
principles of humanity, instructed by the precepts and ex- 
ample of the Prince of Peace, and living in the hopes of 
Heaven, should send armies into the field to butcher each 
other! The practice is indeed a disgrace to human na- 
ture; and the mournful consequences of it must make the 
Angels weep. How often has the hostile foot suddenly 
assailed the ear of apprehension! How often has war 
driven man from his home, and blasted forever his plans 
of domestic happiness ! How often is the wife called upon 
to mourn her husband slain! — The father his son, the 
pride and the glory of his old age ! — The son his father, 
the instructor and the guide of his youth ! — The brother, 
his brother of love! — And the maiden, the blooming 
youth, — the secret joy of her soul ! 

A state of war is demoralizing in many points of view. 
It opens a wide door to selfish ambition, — to intrigue, 
avarice, and to all their concomitant crimes. A habit of 
engaging in war is very soon acquired ; and then the feel- 
ings, and pecuniary interests of a considerable portion of 
the community, renders, to them, such a state desirable. 
Under such a state of things, the defence of national lib- 
erty is often the insincere apology for invasion; and the 
splendour [iii] of military parade, captivating the heart, 
darkens the understanding, and silences the voice of con- 
science. The true nature of freedom is here overlooked ; 
passion supplies the place of reason; and false glory is 
substituted for national respectability. Upon these 
grounds, the eclat of military achievements undermines 
the virtue of the state, and military tyranny usurps the 
place of rational government. 

The evil effects of war are incalculable. They con- 

2 12 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

tinue to operate for ages, and materially affect the ulti- 
mate destinies of nations. War, however, is sometimes 
necessary : but self defence, — in the largest sense of the 
phrase ; self defence, both at home and on Nature's Com- 
mons; — self defence directly and indirectly, is the only 
ground upon which it should be waged. Here Heaven 
will always smUe, and freemen always conquer. 

On the 1 8th and igth of March I passed the battle 
grotmds of Brownstown and Magagua." Near the for- 
mer place Major Vanhom, commanding a detachment of 
one hundred and fifty men, was suddenly attacked, on all 
sides, by British regulars and Indians. The Americans 
made a spirited resistance, and after suffering severely 
effected a retreat. Soon after this affair another detach- 
ment, under Lieutenant Colonel Miller, consisting of three 
hundred of the veteran 4th regiment, and also about two 
hundred militia, were sent to accomplish the object of Van- 
horn's march, which was to support Capt. Brush, who 
was encamped at the River Raisin, and who was destined 
for Detroit with provisions for our army then in possession 
of Sandwich. The enemy anticipating another attempt 
to accomplish the object, immediately obtained reinforce- 
ments, and lay in ambush near the former battle ground. 
The Indians were commanded by Tecumseh; and the 
combined forces amounted to about seven hundred and 
fifty men. 

[112] Colonel Miller, although he proceeded with cau- 
tion, experienced a sudden attack. Perhaps there never 
was one more furious; or the resistance to which evinced 
in a greater degree the characteristic union and firmness 
of disciplined troops. 

•* Brownstown is situated on the Huron River, twenty-five miles south of 
Detroit; Magagua (Monguagon) is about twenty miles south of Detroit. The 
engagement at the former place occurred August 5; at the latter, August 9, 
1812.— Ed. 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrious Tour 213 

On the right of the Americans there was a dark wood, 
and on their left was a small prairie across which was an 
eminence covered with trees and bushes. In the wood, 
on the right, the Indians lay in ambush, with a breast- 
work between them and the Americans. On the small 
height, on the left, there was stationed a detachment of 
Indians; and the British regulars occupied other favour- 
able positions. The onset was tremendous. The veteran 
Miller immediately extended his lines, to avoid being out- 
flanked, ordered a detachment to dislodge the enemy on 
his left, opened a brisk fire upon the main body of the 
assailants, and then drove them at the point of the bayonet. 
At the same time, the enemy was driven from the height 
in a most prompt and gallant manner. The British reg- 
ulars retreated ; but the Indians still obstinately contended 
from behind the scattering trees. The regulars, in the 
mean time, were rallied; and the battle became more 
general, and more equally maintained. At this eventful 
moment, the mighty, yet cheering voice of the intrepid 
Miller, like the roar of a torrent echoing from a thousand 
hills, inspired with a new impulse his faithful, — generous 
troops. — In one moment the victory was ours. Early in 
the engagement, the veteran Colonel was, accidentally, 
thrown from his horse; and some suppose, that they can 
still see upon the ground the impression of his gigantic 

In examining this interesting battle-ground, I found, 
by the numerous scars on the trees under which the Amer- 
icans fought, that the enemy made a great many random 
shot. It is to be presumed, [113] that soldiers generally 
fire too high, especially when the object is at a considerable 
distance; not considering that a ball, in its passage, de- 
scribes a circular line. Every soldier should be acquainted 
with the most simple principles of enginery ; and he should 

2 1 4 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

practice upon those principles, for the purpose of ascer- 
taining their relative influence upon the character of his 
piece. General Wayne seemed to be aware that soldiers 
are apt to fire too high. He was often heard to say to his 
troops, in battle : — ' * Shin them my brave boys ! — shin 

In passing the battle-grounds all was silence. Not a 
leaf was in motion. The misty air seemed conscious that 
here was the place of graves; and no sound was heard 
but the footsteps of the stranger who had come to rejoice 
and to mourn. 

Before leaving these interesting, yet melancholy scenes, 
I may add, that where one is acquainted with the particu- 
lars of an engagement, he can view, with much gratifica- 
tion, the positions which the parties occupied, and draw, 
from their influences upon the result, important lessons 
equal to those of actual experience. 

From the River Raisin to Brownstown the land is highly 
valuable, and presents some fine scites for farms. The 
soil is rugged and rich, the timber upon it lofty and ele- 
gant, and the streams remarkably well calculated for man- 
ufacturing purposes. In viewing these fine tracts I could 
not but pity those poor fellows whom I have often seen 
settled upon a barren and rocky soil, scarcely fit for the 
pasturage of sheep. Unacquainted with the quality of 
land, and yet devoted to the employment of agriculture, 
they still cleave to their possessions, which instead of en- 
riching them, will break down their constitutions with 
labour, and keep them poor all their days. Such persons, 
however, need not leave the land of [114] their birth and 
the society of their friends. Let them still employ their 
industry at home; not upon a less thankless soil. 

From Brownstown to Detroit the land is diversified with 
small meadows and fertile eminences. Here there is a 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 215 

beautiful view of the river Detroit. The rises of land con- 
sist of a rich black mould, upon a limestone bottom. At 
the foot of them there are fine springs, and on their sum- 
mits a good growth of hard wood. 

The day after leaving Magagua I arrived at Detroit, to 
which place I had long looked for that rest and those com- 
forts, which would enable me to make new exertions. In 
marching to this place I was constantly employed, with 
the exception of one day, for seven weeks. The distance 
from New-Hampshire to Detroit, by the rout which I took, 
is about one thousand mUes. Ere I reached the city my 
clothes became much torn, and in going through the 
bushes my eyes were greatly injured. Within one hun- 
dred miles east of Detroit, I crossed upwards of thirty 
rivers and creeks. 

The prospect in approaching this place is picturesque 
and interesting. At the distance of several miles, the 
traveller, in moving along the western bank of the river, 
sees several large buildings, and several wind-mills in the 
town of Sandwich. This place is very considerable, and 
is situated on the Canada side of the river, opposite De- 
troit. The general appearance of this part of the country 
is truly European. 

The city of Detroit is very beautifully situated." Its 
principal street and buildings are upon a bend of the river, 
of a mile or two in length, and they occupy the whole ex- 
tent of it. The bend forms a semi-circle, and the banks 
of it are gently sloping. The houses and stores are near 
the summit of the bank, [115] and the slopes form pleasant 
grounds for gardening. The streets intersect each other 
at right angles, and the situation is calculated for a large 
and elegant city. The Fort and Cantonment lie about 

'* For the early history of Detroit, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of our 
series, note i8. — Ed. 

2 1 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

forty rods west of the main street. From this street a 
spacious gate opens to them, and at a little distance from 
it, the road forks and leads to them respectively. The 
contrast between the numerous white buildings in both of 
these places, and the green grass contiguous to and around 
them is very pleasant. A stranger, in visiting the Fort 
and Cantonment, is agreeably impressed with the neat- 
ness of their appearance, and with the order and discipline 
which are maintained there among the troops. The 
apartments of the officers too present a studious and scien- 
tific aspect; and seem to warrant the idea, that in the 
officers of our army are united the character of the well 
informed gentleman, and intrepid soldier. This military 
post is a very important and responsible station ; and the 
government has made for it a very judicious selection of 
officers. Several of these officers are of the veteran 4th 
regiment ; and others of them have seen the darkened sky 
red-hot with battle. 

On the evening of my arrival at Detroit, I addressed the 
following note to Governor Cass: "A gentleman from 
New-Hampshire wishes for the privilege of introducing 
himself to Governor Cass. He is upon a pedestrious tour, 
and therefore trusts, that the roughness of his garb will not 
preclude him from the honour of an interview. March 
20th, 1818. " The Governor replied with his compliments 
and with the request that I would call upon him the next 
morning at 9 o'clock. At the time appointed I waited 
upon him, and was received with that unafifected friend- 
liness and manner, which so well comports with the insti- 
tutions of the country. 

[116] Governor Cass," who is the Supreme Executive 
magistrate of the Michigan Territory, resides just below 

" Lewis Cass was governor of Michigan from 1814 to 1831. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour iij 

the Cantonment; and General Macomb" occupies an 
elegant brick house, erected by General Hull, situated at 
the upper end of the street. The former is remarkably- 
well calculated for the Governor of a frontier Territory: 
in him are united the civilian and the warrior. Governor 
Cass lives in an unostentatious style; his aspect evinces 
benevolence ; his disposition is social, and his manners are 

The style in which General Macomb lives is at once ele- 
gant and becoming. His military reputation is well 
known; and in private life he is conspicuous for affabil- 
ity, politeness and attention to strangers. 

Soon after entering Detroit, I met with a trifling incident, 
which interested me by exciting my curiosity. Among a 
crowd of gazers here, I saw a face which I remembered to 
have known a great while before ; but where, I could not 
tell. How astonishingly impressive is the expression of 
the human countenance ! The next day the man passed 
the Hotel where I sojourned, and I took the liberty to in- 
vite him in. Twenty years had elapsed since I had last 
seen him; and then we were mere children, pronouncing 
in the same class our A, B, C. 

A considerable part of the population of Detroit are 
French; but the number of Americans there, is daily in- 
creasing, and will soon become very numerous. The Gov- 
ernment warehouse here is very large, and the Govern- 
ment wharf is long and commodious. There are several 
other wharves at Detroit, and the vessels lying at them 

" Alexander Macomb (1782-1841) was a lieutenant-colonel in the regular 
army at the outbreak of the War of 1812-15. Having served on the Niagara 
frontier during 181 3, he commanded the regular troops at the battle of Platts- 
burg (September, 1814), and for his bravery was made a major-general and re- 
ceived a gold medal from Congress. Upon the death of General Brown in 
1828, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the army. — Ed. 

2 1 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

make a pleasant appearance. From the lower part of the 
town the view, up the river, is remarkably fine. Here one 
may see, for the distance of four miles, a beautiful ex- 
panse of water, several islands almost lost to vision, and 
near [117] them, on a point of land, several large wind- 
mills. The river itself yields to none in point of utility 
and beauty. Opposite to Detroit it is about one mile wide, 
and its current moves about three miles an hour. The 
whole length of the river is thirty miles ; and from Detroit 
to Lake St. Clair the distance is nine miles. 

In Detroit there is much good society; and hospitality 
is a conspicuous trait in the character of the people. The 
Lyceum established here is patronized by the principal 
men in the place ; and those who take a part in its discus- 
sions display extensive information, much correct reason- 
ing, and no little eloquence. There is also an Academy 
in this place; and it is superintended by the learned Mr. 
Monteith. In time, this city will become conspicuous for 
its literature, and for the propriety of its customs and 
manners. In relation to politics, it will take, in some re- 
spects, a new course ; and in this particular be an example 
worthy of imitation. In point too of municipal regulation 
and statutary rule, the Michigan Territory will be emi- 
nently correct. There is no state or territory in the union, 
which merits so much attention on the part of the General 
Government as the Michigan Territory. In the vicinity of 
Detroit there is, for the distance of thirty miles, only the 
width of the river of this name between the United States 
and Upper Canada; and above Lake St. Clair, there is 
between the two countries only the width of the river St. 
Clair for the distance of forty miles. It will be of great 
consequence, in a national point of view, to have the sys- 
tems of education, laws, customs, and manners, of the 
Territory such as to outweigh the counter influence of 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 219 

those of the British in its neighbourhood. As to the popu- 
lation of this territory, the General Government will do 
well to afford every facility and encouragement to [118] its 
increase. By increasing the strength of our frontier set- 
tlements, we shall lessen the influence of the British Gov- 
ernment over the savages of the west, and be able to meet 
their incursions more promptly, and with greater effect. 

At Detroit there is a theatre ; and it is under the exclu- 
sive management of the military ojBQcers stationed there. 
These gentlemen, actuated by liberal and polished views, 
have erected a stage for the gratuitous instruction and 
amusement of the public. The scenery of the stage is ex- 
ecuted with an appropriate taste, the dramatic pieces are 
selected with judgment and delicacy, and the perform- 
ances are quite equal to any in the country. Indeed the 
olB&cers of our army, at Detroit, possess much genius and 
erudition; and the correctness of their conduct, in point 
of morals and manners, entitle them to much praise. 

The state of agriculture in the Michigan Territory is far 
from flourishing. In the immediate vicinity of Detroit it 
is deplorable. The French have no ambition to excel in 
this honourable and profitable caUing. There is here, 
however, every thing to encourage an active husbandman. 
The soil is fertile and the climate perfectly congenial to the 
growth of New-England productions. A yankee farmer, 
carrying with him to this place his knowledge of agri- 
culture, and his industry, might soon acquire a very hand- 
some estate. The market for country produce in Detroit 
is always high; and large sums of money are annually paid 
there for provisions, which are transported across the lake 
from the upper parts of the states of New- York, Pennsyl- 
vania, and Ohio. 

The inhabitants of Detroit, wishing to keep their money 
in circulation among themselves, and also wishing to see 

2 20 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

their own agriculture improving, [119] would afford great 
encouragement to farmers who should settle in their vicin- 
ity. Here too all mechanical trades would be promptly 
patronized. Various articles of American manufacture 
are sent to this place from the city of New-York, and meet 
here a market affording great profits. Joiners, brick mak- 
ers, shoe makers, and almost all other mechanics would 
here find ample patronage. Day labourers too, would ob- 
tain here ready employment and good wages. I may add, 
that lumber and wood are remarkably high in this city; 
and that wood sellers and lumber dealers might here real- 
ize from these occupations very handsome profits. 

I deem it my duty to express a high opinion of the Mich- 
igan Territory, because facts warrant such a course, and it 
is important that those of my fellow citizens, who may be 
disposed to emigrate to the west, should possess every in- 
formation upon the subject. No one need suppose my 
declarations to be those of a land speculator. I have not 
the most remote relation to such business, and never 
expect to have. 

In travelling more than four thousand miles, in the 
western parts of the United States, I met no tract of coun- 
try which, upon the whole, impressed my mind so favour- 
ably as the Michigan Territory. Erroneous ideas have 
heretofore been entertained respecting this territory. In- 
deed it has, until lately, been viewed as scarcely within the 
jurisdiction of the United States. Even some late geog- 
raphers seem to have collected no other information re- 
specting it, than what had been written by their ancient 
predecessors. Some of this information, especially as it 
respects Detroit, does not apply to the present times. 

The son of this territory is generally fertile, and a con- 
siderable proportion of it is very rich. Its [120] climate 
is delightful ; and its situation novel and interesting. As 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 221 

to the former, it possesses a good medium between our 
extreme northern and southern latitudes; and with re- 
spect to the latter it is almost encircled by the Lakes Erie, 
St. Clair, Huron, and Michigan. New-England fruits 
may here be produced in great perfection; and the terri- 
tory is capable of being rendered a great cider country. 
In point of health too, this territory yields to no part of 
North America. There is no place in the world more 
healthy than the city of Detroit. Consumptions are never 
known there. 

The situation of this city, although level, is very com- 
manding. On the Ohio the view of the traveller is con- 
fined; but here one appears lifted above the adjacent 
country, and may survey it as from an eminence. 

The Michigan Territory is generally level, but in many 
places gently diversified. The growth of timber here is 
principally black walnut, sugar maple, elm, sycamore, and 
pine. There is not, however, an abundance of the latter. 
The streams within this territory are very numerous, and 
well calculated for manufacturies of every kind; and the 
fisheries here are exceedingly valuable. Besides vast 
quantities of many other kinds of fish, caught in the waters 
within and contiguous to this territory, during the spring 
and summer season, thousands of barrels of white fish 
are taken here in the fall, and prepared for the home and 
foreign markets.®* This species of fish is of the size, and 
appearance of the largest shad; but are far more valuable. 
Wild fowl of all kinds greatly abound here. 

The trade of the Michigan Territory is already very con- 
siderable, and it is rapidly increasing. Besides the busi- 
ness transacted between different parts of the territory it- 
self, and with the Indian [121] tribes in the neighbourhood, 

•* Either the common whitefish (Coregonus clupeiformis) or the blue fins 
{Coregonus nigripinnis) . — Ed. 

2 2 2 Early Western Travels jVol. & 

it transacts considerable business with the upper parts of 
the state of New- York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio ; and also 
with the inhabitants of Upper Canada. Its shipping is 
employed on Lake Erie, Huron, and Michigan, either 
in the fisheries, in freighting, or in trading along the coast. 
In the summer season there is in Detroit a considerable 
concourse of strangers, from the states by the way of 
Buffalo, who furnish considerable sums as passage money 
to the ship owners on Lake Erie ; and in the spring of the 
year the neighbouring Indians resort thither to dispose of 
their furs, and to purchase guns, ammunition, blankets, 
and other articles. 

Detroit is a central situation for the fur trade in the 
North- West ;" and there is a considerable commercial 
connexion between this place and Chicago and Green 

The establishment of a weighty fur company at Detroit, 
would result in much individual and public advantage. 
The English, by their extensive fur trade in the north and 
west, acquire an influence among the Indians, which simi- 
lar establishments on our part would completely counter- 
act. This influence renders the Indians hostile towards 
us, and in the event of a war between this country and 
Great Britain, would blend the prejudices of the English- 
man with the ferocity of the savage. 

The English derive immense profits from the North 
American fur trade. The North West company employ 
in this business, exclusive of savages, upwards of fifteen 
hundred men. The articles for the Indian market are 
cheap, and of course the requisite capital for this business 
is smaU. 

It was my intention, after spending a few days at De- 

" For an account of the North West Company, consult the preface to Long's 
Voyages, volume ii of our series, p. i6. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 223 

troit, to pursue my tour through the wilderness, between 
the Lakes Huron and Michigan, as far as [122] Michili- 
macinac ; from thence across the North- West Territory to 
the Falls of St. Anthony, and then to trace the Mississippi 
to New-Orleans. Whilst at Detroit, however, I concluded 
to change, in some measure, my course. 

There was evidence of a hostile disposition on the part 
of the Indians situated on my proposed route ; the season 
of the year rendered travelling in this direction almost im- 
practicable; and my views and business would not per- 
mit the delay which this last mentioned circumstance 
would occasion. 

Upon leaving Detroit I crossed Lake Erie in a small 
vessel, and arriving at Presque Isle, pursued my course to 
New-Orleans, taking in my way all the states and terri- 
tories of the west. 

It may not be amiss, before I notice my trip across the 
Lake, to communicate some facts and reflections respect- 
ing the country above Detroit, many of which facts I was 
enabled to obtain by my residence there. Ere I speak 
upon this subject, however, I will, for a moment, prolong 
my stay at this city. 

The sufferings of this place during the late war, are 
scarcely describable. The apprehension of death is far 
more terrible than actual dissolution. After the capitula- 
tion of General Hull, Detroit was thronged by Indians, and 
they were continually making the most aggravating requi- 
sitions. These they enforced by savage threats. There 
was not a moment of domestic peace for any one. The 
inhabitants did not dare to fasten their doors : for if they 
did the Indians would cut them to pieces with their toma- 
hawks, and revenge the opposition upon the inmates of 
the house. When families were about to sit down to their 
tables, the Indians would come in, drive every one out of 

2 24 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

the room, and feast themselves. Their constant demand, 
at every dwelling, was for [123] whiskey; and to grant or 
refuse it was attended with great danger. If it were 
granted, intoxication and consequent bloodshed would be 
the effects; and upon a refusal, the Indians would present 
their long knives and threaten immediate death. 

A lady, who resided at Detroit whilst it was in posses- 
sion of the British, and who is remarkable for her good 
sense and intrepidity, related to me the above and many 
other facts relative to this trying state of things. She said, 
that upon one occasion several Indians came to her house, 
and upon their approach it was thought advisable for her 
husband to conceal himself in the garret. The Indians 
demanded whiskey of her; and upon being told that there 
was none in the house, they presented several knives to 
her breast, and in their rude English called her a liar. Al- 
though in momentary expectation of death, she still denied 
her having whiskey. Her husband, hearing the bustle be- 
low came down, and with the assistance of two or three 
others, who accidentally came that way, drave the Indians 
from the house. Immediate revenge was anticipated. It 
was the practice of the Indians, particularly at this time, 
to resent the smallest opposition. Supported by their 
civilized patrons, they felt their consequence; and their 
pride was as easily touched as that of a savageized English- 
man. The house of the lady was soon surrounded, and 
day after day the Indians came to search for her husband ; 
but not being able to find him, the object was, apparently, 

Immediately after the massacre at the River Raisin, the 
inhabitants of Detroit were called upon to witness a 
heart-rending scene. The Indians from this field of car- 
nage were continually arriving at the city, and passing 
through its streets, with poles laden with reeking scalps. 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrious Tour 225 

I am here disposed to make a few remarks relative [124] 
to the late war. I know that in so doing I shall incur cen- 
sure; but I write for those who are too noble to conceal 
their defeats, and too modest to proclaim their victories. 
The genius, and energy, and resources of the United States 
should have accomplished every thing. 

I confess that I did not rejoice at the beams of peace. 
Premature peace does not promote the cause of humanity. 
We declared war for the defence of essential rights, which 
had, in the wantonness of power, been repeatedly invaded. 
In this war we sought indemnity for the past, and security 
for the future ; — that security which punishment extorts 
from injustice: — that security which the fine and the lash 
guarantees to honest and peaceable communities. Did 
we efifect our object ? — Oh no ! Whatever may have been 
our victories, our defeats were disgraceful. The admin- 
istrators of the government were deficient in information, 
in system, and in energy. They sought an effect without 
an adequate cause; and the people sacrificed the glory of 
the country to the pride of political competition. As to 
the opposition, they pursued false morals until they lost 
sight of true patriotism. 

There was virtue enough in the community; but afflic- 
tion was necessary to raise it from the ruins of thoughtless 
and passionate rivalry. We were upon the eve of humil- 
iation, — the eve of new, and omnipotent moral impulse, 
when peace unexpectedly presented herself. Not the peace 
which the victor magnanimously gives to the humbled foe, 
but that peace which misguided apprehension yields to 
the dark calculations of policy. The British Lion ceased 
to roar, and instead of contending until we had pared his 
princely paws, we were ready to forgive and to embrace 
him. Our own Eagle despised us; and with a fearless, 
anxious eye, and ruffled plume, [125] retired to the elevated 

2 26 Karly Western Travels [Vol.8 

and gloomy promontory of her glory and her disappoint- 

It is the general opinion at Detroit, that Hull was 
prompted to surrender the place, not by bribery, but by 
cowardice. Could he have seen the dreadful and humiliat- 
ing consequences which actually arose from this base 
and unpardonable step, the suggestions of conscience 
would have controuled his apprehensions, and his brave 
men would not have been deprived of their fame. Inde- 
scribable must be the feelings of patriotism and courage, 
when official cowardice yields them to a foe, whom their 
hearts have already conquered. The brave man regards 
his friends and his country a thousand times more than 
himself; and he would court a hundred deaths rather than 
wound their feelings, or forfeit their love. In the hour of 
danger, when the national flag is assailed, his soul tells 
him that his countrymen will hear of this, and he dedicates 
himself to battle, to glory, and to death! But I am sen- 
sible that there is a higher principle : the man who fears no 
evil so much as self-reproach, will always do his duty. 

Immediately upon the capitulation of Hull, a Yankee 
soldier of the 4th regiment thought it high time for him 
to take care of himself; and he immediately devised a plan 
by which he hoped to outwit General Brock. The soldier 
secretly left the fort, went to a barber and had his hair 
and whiskers closely shaved; and then obtained from a 
tailor such garments as were most fashionable for traders. 
After remaining about the city for a few days, this citizen- 
soldier applied to the British General for the necessary 
passes, stating that he had come to Detroit for the pur- 
poses of trade, &c. The General kindly referred him to 
the proper officer, his passes were promptly prepared, and 
he returned to his friends. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 227 

[126]! will now commence my proposed excursion 
above Detroit. 

The strait called the river Detroit becomes enlarged just 
above Hog Island,^" and forms Lake St. Clair. This lake 
is about twenty-five miles in length. Its depth is incon- 
siderable. The principal islands in it are Harsen's, Hay, 
Peach, and Thompson's. Formerly there were several 
Indian tribes situated on the western side of this Lake; 
and the Ontaonais " occupied the other side: but the 
Iroquois, a fierce, bloody, and restless tribe, have long 
since dispossessed them. 

The River St. Clair, between the lake of this name and 
Lake Huron, receives the waters of the three vast Lakes 
beyond it. This river is about forty miles long. The bed 
of the river is strait, contains many islands, and its banks 
are covered with lofty trees. At the head of this river is 
Fort St. Clair." 

The river Thames enters Lake St. Clair on the Canada 
side. On this river is situated the Moravian village, 
where General Harrison routed the British and Indians 
under Proctor and Tecumseh." On this river too is 

'" Hog Island, about three miles above Detroit, was so named by the French 
in the early years of discovery, because of the number of wild swine found 
thereon. Near this island occurred the defeat of the Fox Indians in 1712. 
See Wisconsin Historical Collections, xvi, p. 283. This island was purchased 
by WilUam, father of General Macomb, in 1786. — Ed. 

" For the Ottawa Indians, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of our series, 
note 37. — Ed. 

" This unimportant post was estabUshed (1765) and commanded by Patrick 
Sinclair, a British army officer, who also purchased a large tract of land along 
the river. Both fort and river were for a long time called Sinclair, and as late 
as 1807 are so given in an Indian treaty drawn up by Governor Hull. See State 
Papers, Indian Affairs, i, p. 747. — Ed. 

'^ The battle of the Thames, in which Proctor was put to flight and Tecum- 
seh killed, was fought two miles west of Moraviantown, or about sixty-five 
miles northeast of Detroit. — Ed. 

2 2 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

General Simcoe's paper town called London.'^ Along the 
banks of the Lake and river St. Clair, the country, 
generally, is fertile, and pleasingly diversified. The sugar 
maple tree abounds here, and here too are elegant forests 
of pine timber well calculated for the common purposes 
of building, and also for spars. I may add, that on the 
banks of the Thames are villages of the Delawares and 
Chippewas." The principal townships of the Six Nations 
are situated near the greatest source of this river. 

Before I leave Lake St. Clair, I must say a word re- 
specting the old veteran of this name." It is indeed too 
late to do him justice: — he no longer wants [127] the 
meat which perisheth. But we may spread laurels upon 
his tomb; and soothe the spirit, which, perhaps, even now 
hovers over its country, and seeks the fame which his 
merit achieved. The mass of mankind judge of plans, 
and of their execution, not by their abstract wisdom, or 
energy, but by their results. Many a man, however, 
gains a victory by a blunder, and experiences defeat 
through the instrumentality of his wisdom. Accident 
often settles the question; and we may presume, that 
sometimes it is emphatically the will of Heaven, that the 
strongest and wisest party should be overcome. 

General St. Clair devoted his whole life to the art of 

'* In 1793 Governor Simcoe made a trip to Detroit, and selected the present 
site of London for the capital of Upper Canada. However, the surrender of 
Detroit (1796), in accordance with Jay's Treaty, rendered such a plan im- 
practicable, and York was chosen capital instead. London, situated on the 
Thames one hundred and ten miles northeast of Detroit, was laid out in 1826 
and incorporated in 1840. — Ed. 

" For the Delaware and Chippewa Indians, see Post's Journals, volume i of 
our series, note 57; Long's Voyages, volume ii of our series, note 42. — Ed. 

" For a brief biography of General Arthur St. Clair, see F. A. Michaux's 
Travels, volume iii of our series, note 33. Evans would seem to imply that the 
lake and river were named for this officer. The name was assigned by La 
Salle's expedition in 1679. See Hennepin, A New Discovery (Thwaites's ed., 
Chicago, 1903), pp. 59, 108.— Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 229 

war. He was a scientific man, a man of talents, and 
always brave. His heart was formed for friendship, and 
his manners were interesting. In many battles he pre- 
vailed. In 1 791 he was defeated. — So was Braddock, so 
was Harmer. Indian warfare is full of stratagem and 
terror. Troops will not always stand this test, and one 
man cannot effect every thing. General St. Clair had to 
contend with even more formidable enemies : — with mis- 
fortune, — with reproach, — with the ingratitude of his 
country. He retired from an ignorant and uncharitable 
world to his favourite Ridge. — Here he died. Who 
would not shun the thronged and splendid path of the 
successful warrior, to bend over the lonely grave of the 
venerable St. Clair ! 

Lake Huron is, excepting Lake Superior, the largest 
collection of fresh water known to civilized man. Includ- 
ing the coasts of its bays its circumference is upwards of 
one thousand miles. Its islands are very numerous. 
The names of some of them are La Crose, Traverse, White- 
wood, Michilimackinac, Prince William, St. Joseph, and 
Thunder Bay. The island of St. Joseph is upwards of one 
hundred miles in circumference, and belongs to the Eng- 
lish, who have a company stationed there." 

[128] On the American side of Lake Huron, and be- 
tween it and Lake Michigan the country is a perfect wil- 
derness. The principal Indian tribes situated in this tract 
are the Ootewas and Chippewas. The bay of Saguina on 
this side of the lake, is eighteen miles in width, and in 
length about forty-five miles. Two considerable rivers 

'' The English, upon their surrender of Mackinac in 1796, thinking the 
Americans might claim St. Joseph Island, hastened to take possession. A 
stockade was erected and subsequently a blockhouse, but the place was not 
suited for a mihtary station. In 1815, the buildings were repaired and a garri- 
son estabHshed; it was removed, however, to Drummond's Island the following 
year. For fvirther information regarding this island, see Michigan Pioneer 
Collections, xvi, p. 69. — Ed. 

230 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

and several small ones pass into this bay. The Bay of 
Thunder lies near the Straits of Michilimackinac, is nine 
miles in width and very shallow. Here terrible storms 
of thunder and lightning are frequently experienced. 

On the Canada side of Lake Huron, from Lake St. 
Clair to the river Severn, which passes near Lake Simcoe 
and enters the first mentioned Lake, the country is but 
little known, and is covered with thick forests. These 
forests reach far beyond the Severn, and indeed are sepa- 
rated from the unexplored wilds, which probably extend 
to the Pacific Ocean, only by the lakes, rivers, and por- 
tages which lie in the track of the British Fur Companies. 
The rapids upon these rivers are very numerous. The 
lakes too, in this part of the country, are numerous, but 
small. The principal houses of the British Fur Com- 
panies are established at the Lakes Abitibee, Waratouba, 
and Tamiscamine.'* The North- West Fur Company send 
every year from one hundred to one hundred and fifty 
canoes, laden with merchandize, to their posts on Lake 
Superior. These canoes are made of very light materials, 
generally of birch, are flat on the bottom, round on the 
sides, and sharp at each end. They carry about four tons 
each, and are conducted by about ten persons. These 
boats generally move from Montreal about the beginning 
of May. Before the canoes arrive at their place of destina- 
tion, they are repeatedly unladen and carried, together 
with their cargoes, across many portages. The course is 
toilsome and perilous; but the prospect of [129] gain, and 
the habit of enduring fatigue render the employment tol- 
erable. The principal food of the navigators is Indian 
meal and the fat of bears. In the trade with the Indians, 
the beaver skin is the medium of barter. Two beaver 

'* For information concerning these lakes, see Long's Voyages, volume ii of 
our series, pp. 145, 191. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 231 

skins are equal to one otter skin ; and ten of the former are 
generally allowed for a common gun. Here is a profit of 
at least 500 per cent, exclusive of all costs. 

Michilimackinac is a small island situated in the upper 
part of Lake Huron near the commencement of the strait 
which connects this Lake with Lake Michigan." The as- 
pect of the island is elevated and irregular. The fort of 
Michilimackinac is situated on this island, near to which 
are several stores and dwelling houses. This is a very im- 
portant post. The strait and also the lakes which it con- 
nects abound with fine fish; the principal kinds of which 
are herring, white fish, and trout. The Michilimackinac 
trout are bred in Lake Michigan, and are celebrated for 
their size and excellence; they sometimes weigh sixty or 
seventy pounds. 

The strait of Michilimackinac is about fifteen miles in 
length. The course of its current, into Huron or Michi- 
gan, depends upon the winds; and is, therefore, very irreg- 
ular. At times it is exceedingly rapid. 

Lake Michigan is about two hundred and fifty miles in 
length. Its breadth is about sixty miles. Including the 
curvatures of its bays, its circumference is about nine hun- 
dred miles. There are a great many rivers which rise in 
the peninsula between this Lake and Lake Huron, and 
which pass into the latter. That part of this peninsula 
which lies along the south-east of Lake Michigan is but 
little known. The names of the principal rivers here are 
Marguerite, Grand, Black, and St. Joseph. The latter is 
by far the largest, and may be ascended about one hun- 
dred [130] and fifty miles. On this river is situated Fort 

'* For the early history of Mackinac, see Thwaites, "Story of Mackinac," 
in How George Rogers Clark won the Northwest (Chicago, 1903). — Ed. 

*" A brief sketch of Fort St. Joseph is given in Croghan's Journals, volume 
i of our series, note 85. — Ed. 

232 Early Westerfi Travels [Vol. 8 

Green Bay, on the western border of Lake Michigan is 
about one hundred miles in length ; and its breadth, at its 
entrance, is about twenty-five miles. It contains several 
islands ; and there are in its vicinity tracts of low and wet 
ground. At the bottom of the bay is a little fall," beyond 
which is a small lake called Winnebago. This lake re- 
ceives Fox river from the west. At the foot of this bay too, 
is a fort," and on the west of lake Winnebago is situated 
a village inhabited by Indians of this name. On the Mal- 
hominis river, which flows into Green Bay, is also situated 
an Indian village containing various tribes. The princi- 
pal of them are the Lake, Pouteoratamis, and Malhomi- 
nis.*^ A few families of the Nadonaicks, whose nation 
was nearly exterminated by the Iroquois, reside here. The 
Puans once occupied the borders of this bay, and Puans 
bay was originally its name. The Puans were fierce, and 
exceedingly hostile to neighbouring tribes. At length 
these tribes combined against them, and their numbers 
were greatly diminished. 

Lake Michigan and Green Bay form a long point of 

^' Evans probably refers here to the fall five miles from the mouth of Fox 
River, at De Pere (French, Rapides des phes), so called because it was the site 
of a Jesuit Indian mission established in 1669-70. See Wisconsin Historical 
Collections, xvi. Our author in his description omits mention of the Lower 
Fox, flowing from Lake Winnebago into Green Bay. — Ed. 

*' Fort Howard, named in honor of General Benjamin Howard, formerly 
commander in the Western territory, was constructed (1816) a mile above the 
mouth of Fox River, when the Americans took possession, after the War of 
1812-15. A French settlement, chiefly on the opposite side of the river at Green 
Bay, had existed here since about 1745. — Ed. 

^ There were two villages of Winnebago (French Puans) on the lake of that 
name: the principal one was situated on Doty's Island, at the mouth of the 
lake; the other at the junction of the Upper Fox and the lake, near the water- 
works station of the modem Oshkosh. This latter was familiarly known to the 
French voyageurs as Saukibre. The village on the Menominee (Malhominis) 
River was, as Evans says, a mixed one, composed principally of the tribe which 
gave name to the river. For these two tribes, see Long's Voyages, volume ii of 
our series, notes 81, 86. For the Potawatomi, see Croghan's Journals, volume i 
of our series, note 84. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrious Tour 233 

land called Cape Townsand. Between this Lake and 
Lake Winnebago are situated the Ootewas. There are 
several rivers on the west of the last mentioned lake. One 
of these is Chicago river, near to which is Fort Dearborn." 
At Chicago the United States have troops stationed. 

Would to Heaven, that I could forever forget lake Mich- 
igan ! Her envious waves have, recently, buried a youth 
of noble promise. With melancholy pride I remember, 
that whilst at Detroit, I numbered among my friends the 
lamented Lieutenant Eveleth. He possessed a genius 
peculiarly calculated for the engineer department, to which 
he belonged; [131] and by his mild, yet manly deportment, 
inspired, even in strangers, both esteem and affection. 
His countenance was martial; but with this aspect was 
blended a sweetness of expression which is rarely wit- 
nessed. — 

"Weep no more," brother soldiers, "weep no more. 
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead, 
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor; 
So sinks the day star in the ocean bed, 
And yet anon repairs his drooping head, 
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore 
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: 
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, 
Through the dear might of Him who walk'd the wave." 

The tract of country lying between Lake Michigan and 
Lake Superior is rather sterile. The falls of St. Mary, 
situated in the strait between Lakes Huron and Superior, 
are mere cascades. In this strait there are several islands. 

** A piece of land six miles square situated on "the Chicago River, having 
been ceded to the United States by the treaty of Greenville (1795), orders were 
issued by the War Department (1803) for the construction of a fort on the 
north branch of the river. Fearing a combined English and Indian attack, the 
garrison evacuated the fort August 15, 1812; but had proceeded but a little 
way, when they were attacked by the Indians and the greater number massacred. 
Fort Dearborn was rebuilt in 1816, and garrisoned for several years thereafter. 
It was torn down in 1857, and the last of the buildings connected with it were 
consumed in the Chicago fire of 1871. — Ed. 

2 34 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

Below the falls is situated Fort St. Mary.*' In this strait 
are caught fine fish of many kinds. The Indian tribes, 
who have heretofore occupied, and some of whom still 
occupy this part of the country are the Nougua, Outch- 
ebous, Maramegs, Achiligonans, Amicours, Missasangues, 
Hurons, Nepicrenians, Salteurs, Ontaouais, Amehouest 
and Otters.*^ Many of these tribes are merged in others 
of them who have been more powerful, or less unfortunate. 
The Iroquois, bloodthirsty and incursive, scattered all 
these tribes, and nearly exterminated some of them. There 
is, near the falls of St. Mary, a company of traders, several 
houses, a manufactory, mills, &c. But the vicinity of this 
place is a perfect wilderness. 

Lake Superior is probably the largest collection of fresh 
water in the world. It is but little known. Its circum- 
ference however, has been ascertained to be about fifteen 
hundred miles. Storms frequently [132] assail it; and a 
swell, like that of the ocean, dashes upon the high and rag- 
ged rocks of its coasts. It contains many considerable 
islands and bays, and the soil around it is far from being 
fertile. Some of the islands are from fifty to one hundred 
miles in length. There are about forty rivers, which pour 
their tribute into this vast lake, some of which are of consid- 
erable magnitude. In the vicinity of the grand portage," 
between this lake and the Lake of the Woods, there are 
established several trading companies. Lake Superior is 
weU stored with fish, the principal kinds of which are 
white fish, trout, and sturgeon. The latter are of a very 
superior quality. 

*' For a brief description of Sault Ste. Marie, consult Long's Voyages, 
voliime ii of our series, note 38. — Ed. 

** For these tribes, many of whom are merely clans of the larger tribes, con- 
sult Wisconsin Historical Collections, xvi, index. — Ed. 

*' See Franch^re's Narrative, volume vi of our series, note 205, for a brief 
description of the Grand Portage. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 235 

This lake is remarkable for the pure and pellucid ap- 
pearance of its water. The fish in it can be seen swim- 
ming at a great depth; and the vessels upon it seem to 
move in air. These effects are, probably, caused, in part, 
by the peculiar materials of the bed of the lake, and partly 
by extraordinary evaporation. This last idea sanctions 
the belief, that in this part of the country the quantity of 
rain is very great. Some places in the neighbourhood 
of this Lake are swampy, and some are elevated and 

To the north and west of Lake Superior are several 
other lakes, the principal of which are the Lake of the 
Woods, Rainy Lake, Bear Lake, and Red Lake.** 

Opposite to about the centre of Lake Superior, and 
on the river Mississippi, are the falls of St. Anthony. 
This river, above the falls, runs, principally, through Bear 
and Red Lake; one branch of it, however, runs below 
them pretty much in the direction of the Missouri River. 
Both below and above the falls of St. Anthony an almost 
innumerable number of rivers pour their waters into the 
Mississippi, some of which are several thousand miles in 
length. The Missouri is the principal source of [133] the 
Mississippi, and the latter name ought to be substituted for 
that of the former. Between the cascades of St. Mary, 
and the falls last mentioned, lies the North- West Terri- 

'* For Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake, see Franchere's Narrative, notes 
201, 204. 

The maps of Evans's period represent White Bear Lake as the source of the 
Mississippi, and Red or Mississagan Lake as the origin of Red River of the 
North. The latter retains its name. The former is probably that now known 
as Leech Lake. — Ed. 

*• IlUnois was admitted to the Union in 1818, and the part north of its present 
boimdary was annexed to Michigan Territory. For the various divisions of 
the Northwest Territory, see Thwaites, "Division of the Northwest," in How 
George Rogers Clark won the Northwest. — Ed. 

236 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

The Indians, in the north and west, are generally fierce 
and untameable. They are so attached to the hunter 
state, that here they are somewhat industrious; but in 
every other occupation they evince great characteristic 
indolence. Some of the tribes are politic in all their pro- 
ceedings; and husband their property and strength. 
Others, however, are regardless of the future, and look 
only to the present moment. All are degenerating, in a 
greater or less degree, and some, through the operation 
of ordinary causes, are becoming extinct. 

Before I leave these immense waters to return to Detroit, 
I may notice, for a moment, the vast inland navigation 
which they afford. From the City of New- York to New- 
Orleans, by the way of the Lakes, the distance is about 
four thousand miles; and yet, without the aid of canals, 
the land carriage through this whole route is only about 
thirty miles. Such is the wonderful superiority of our 
country relative to inland navigation. Owing to this easy 
communication between the interior and the sea board, 
and to the other advantages of a residence in the west, it 
is to be presumed, that in the course of two centuries the 
western world will be as populous as the Continent of 
Europe. Such are the prospects presented to the politi- 
cian in this country, and such the interest which they are 
calculated to excite in the breast of the American patriot, 
that one, in relation to this subject, would wish to live a 
thousand years. Admiration and concern occupy his 
mind. He wishes to watch the progress of events; and to 
apply, from time to time, the salutary principles of rational 
government. Aware of the oscillating nature of popu- 
lar [134] sentiment, he fears that in some unfortunate mo- 
ment the waves of popular feeling will be agitated, and 
that they will continue to dash even after the cause of their 
vexation shall have been forgotten. — He realizes, that in 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 237 

proportion to the extent of national territory, viewed in 
connection with the increase of population, the accumu- 
lation of wealth, the progress of arts, the habits of refine- 
ment, the corruptions of luxury, and lastly, with the dregs 
of that spirit of independence, which, in its purest essence, 
blends charity with suspicion, and forbearance with en- 
ergy; but, in its deterioration, substitutes for these, a con- 
tracted jealousy, and a blind resentment: — he realizes, 
that in proportion to the extent of national territory, 
viewed in relation to these circumstances, will be the hor- 
rors of political concussion, and the miseries of consequent 
anarchy or despotism. Such are the effects, which are to 
be apprehended from the rapid and ultimate increase of 
the United States, that the American patriot, in view of 
her prosperity and of his own dissolution, may well ex- 
claim. Oh, save my country ! 

It is with nations as with individuals ; adversity is equally 
requisite for both. This is the only school where true wis- 
dom can be acquired, and where the native luxuriance of 
the heart can meet with due restraints. — May Heaven 
guide our destinies by his chastening mercy ! 

I now suppose myself at Detroit, and about to leave it 
for the purpose of crossing Lake Erie. I speak not in 
vanity, but to do justice to the hospitality of this city : I 
arrived here an entire stranger, and left the place sur- 
rounded by friends. How grateful to the traveller, worn 
down by fatigue, is the hand of friendship and the smile 
of approbation ! Upon leaving the Government wharf, I 
felt more than I should be willing to express : — The 
world do [135] not understand the language of the heart. 
I consider myself under particular obligations to A. G. 
W. Esquire. He voluntarily sought my acquaintance, and 
in the most interesting manner convinced me of his regard. 
This gentleman is conspicuous for his independence and 

238 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

literary attainments; but his greatest characteristic is na- 
tive modesty. 

Whilst at Detroit, I was much interested and amused 
by the conduct of an Indian; both by the principles upon 
which he acted, and the manner with which he displayed 
them. One morning, whilst conversing with my friend 
Doctor W. in came an Indian, and putting a finger to his 
mouth said, with a patient aspect and in a plaintive tone, 
' ' very sick. ' ' The poor fellow had been suffering much 
from the tooth ache, and he wished to have it extracted. 
He sat down, and placing his hands together, and inter- 
locking his fingers he evinced, during the operation, much 
stoicism mingled with an interesting resignation. After 
the tooth was removed, he asked for whiskey; and imme- 
diately upon drinking it gravely marched off, leaving his 
tooth as the only compensation for the whiskey and sur- 
gical aid. 

In going down the river Detroit, I was so happy as to 
have the society of General Macomb, Major M. Capt. W. 
and Lieut. B. 

The river, a mile below the city, is much wider than it is 
opposite to that place ; and a little further down there is a 
narrow and marshy island about four miles in length. 
Here we landed and refreshed ourselves from the General's 
provision baskets. Upon this island we found an almost 
innumerable number of ducks; they were heard in the 
grass in every direction. Vast flocks of wild fowl are al- 
most continually swimming in the river Detroit. 

Soon after leaving this island we arrived at Grose Isle." 
The latter divides the river into two channels. [136] Its 

'" Grosse Isle, nine miles in length and about a mile in width, was purchased 
from the Indians in 1776 by William Macomb; it extends to the mouth of De- 
troit Strait. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 239 

soil appears to be good, and its timber valuable. Upon 
this island, situated about three mUes above Maiden, there 
is a small fort in which the United States have stationed a 
few troops. The situation is very pleasant; and as a mili- 
tary post, is of consequence. A little below this place is a 
beautiful summer residence belonging to General Macomb, 
and which, I believe, is called St. Helena. The outlet to 
Lake Erie, between Maiden and the adjoining land, is 
very narrow. Maiden itself is a wretched looking place. 
It appears, indeed, like a scalp shop. One store, a ware- 
house, and a few small buildings constitute the whole of 
this celebrated position. I saw no inhabitants there ex- 
cepting two or three crippled Indians. 

After remaining one night at Grose Isle, I proceeded to 
Maiden, and from thence entered the lake. During the 
night the wind was high, and we run back a considerable 
way to avoid several islands called the Sisters. Towards 
morning, the wind being fair, we continued our course. 
At day light we experienced a gale of wind, and run for 
Put-in-Bay. Our Captain was a very experienced sea- 
man, and perfectly understood the navigation of the lake; 
but having got among a cluster of little islands, situated 
near the bay, he was, for a moment, bewildered. Our 
situation was highly interesting. The darkness of the gale 
seemed to contend with the dawn; and fancy could almost 
see it hold the reins of the car of day. The waves dashed, 
our sloop ploughed the foam, many little islands reared, 
through night, their ragged tops, our Captain exclaimed, 
"where are we ?' ' and all was hurly. We were now pass- 
ing over the battle waves of the gallant Perry. Our little 
gunless keel moved where whole fleets had stormed. In 
fancy's ear, the cannon's roar had not ceased to reverber- 
ate; the undulating wave seemed [137] anxious to bury the 

240 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

dead ; the wind, through our scanty shrouds, whispered in 
the ear of death; and the green wave, reddened by battle, 
greedily sported around our sides." 

Many of the islands near the Bay are not larger than a 
dwelling-house. Their sides consist of ragged rocks, and 
on their summits are a few weather beaten trees. 

The storm continuing, we remained at anchor in Put- 
in-Bay four days. During this time I frequently went 
ashore, and surveyed the island of this name. Wild fowl 
are numerous here, and in the woods there are swine. The 
island is uninhabited. Its soil and the growth of its tim- 
ber are very good. The former abounds with limestone. 

This island is rendered interesting by its forming the bay 
in which our fleet was moored both before and after its 
great victory; and also by its containing the graves of some 
of those who fell in the engagement. My visit to these 
graves excited melancholy reflections. The parade and 
confusion of battle had passed ; and nothing was heard but 
the chill blast, wending its devious way through the rank 
weeds. So bloody was this battle, that the victor himself 
might well have mourned. 

It was natural for me here to reflect upon our naval 
history. During the Revolution our prowess upon the 
ocean promised every thing; and in the late war even the 
prophecies of philosophy, and the inspirations of liberty, 
were distanced. But I must speak of Renown! Where 

" When Perry reached Erie, Pennsylvania, to take charge of naval aflFairs 
(March, 1813), he found two vessels, the "Niagara" and the "Lawrence," 
already under construction. Working with tireless energy he equipped his 
fleet of ten vessels by August 12, and sailing up the lake anchored in Put-in-Bay 
to await the enemy. On the morning of September 10, the British squadron 
of six vessels, under Captain Barclay, appeared and the battle began. The 
"Lawrence," Perry's ship, being shot to pieces, he boarded the "Niagara," 
and again attacked the British at close range. At three in the afternoon, Bar- 
clay's two large vessels surrendered, and two others attempting to escape were 
captured. This victory compelled the British to evacuate Detroit. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 241 

is our Wasp ?^^ True glory was her object; and she re- 
turns not for earthly honours. Langdon and Toscin sleep 
in France:®^ — they were buds of fame. Lawrence fell, 
like Hector, by the shaft of fate.^* My memory is full of 
valour's sons; but they need not the eulogy of my pen. 

In one of my excursions into the woods of Put-in-Bay 
[138] island, I was accompanied by my friend Capt. W. of 
the United States Army, a gentleman of a scientific and 
polished mind. Having provided ourselves with some 
old clothes, we visited a cave situated about a mile from 
the bay. This cave is smaller than some others in the 
west ; but is, nevertheless, worth a description. 

After exploring the woods for some time, we found what 
we supposed might be, and what actually was the cave. 
Its front is situated at the end of a considerable rise of land 
of an oval form. The mouth of the cave was very small ; 
and being covered with sticks and leaves, presented a very 
uninviting aspect. After removiag the obstructions, we 
took lights, and descending about ten feet perpendicularly, 
came to a rock, the position of which was that of an in- 

•* The "Wasp" under command of Johnston Blakely sailed from Ports- 
mouth for the British Channel (May, 1814), and began the destruction of 
EngUsh merchantmen. June 28, the brig "Reindeer" bore down upon her, 
but after twenty minutes of hard fighting was compelled to surrender. Al- 
though suffering severely in this engagement, the "Wasp" continued her rav- 
ages until October, when she disappeared and was never heard from again. — Ed. 

^ Henry Langdon and Frank Toscan were both midshipmen on the "Wasp" 
during her fight with the "Reindeer," and died from wounds received in the 
battle.— Ed. 

"James Lawrence, bom in Burlington, New Jersey (1781), served with 
Decatur in the War with Tripoli, and as lieutenant on the "Constitution." In 
181 1 he was placed in command of the ' ' Hornet, ' ' his most notable achievement 
with that vessel being the destruction (1813) of the British ship "Peacock." 
For this victory he was given command of the "Chesapeake," and accepting 
the challenge of the "Shannon," fought with her ofif Boston harbor, June, 1813. 
He fell, mortally wounded, and the ' ' Chesapeake ' ' was compelled to surrender. 
ffis countrymen, stirred by his dying cry, "Don't give up the ship," had his 
body brought from Halifax, and buried with military honors in Trinity Church- 
3rard, New York City. — Ed. 

242 E^arly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

clined plane. This rock is, in its descent, met by the front 
of the cave, so as to leave an aperture, near the floor of it, 
of only about three feet in length, and eighteen inches in 
height. This aperture also was covered with leaves. 
After removing them, we lay flat, and crowded ourselves, 
one to time, into an unknown and dismal region. As we 
advanced the cave, gradually, became higher; and at 
length we could move in an erect posture. Here we found 
ourselves in a spacious apartment, constituting about an 
acre, and surrounded by curious petrifactions. Those on 
the walls were small ; but on the floor of the cave they were 
large; some of them weighing about thirty pounds. The 
latter are, generally of a pyramidical form. At the dis- 
tance of about two hundred feet from the mouth of the 
cave, we came to a precipice, at the foot of which was a 
body of deep water. Whilst my companion sat upon the 
bripk of the precipice, I descended it, and holding a light 
in one hand, swam with the other for the purpose of ascer- 
taining the course and boundaries of this subterranean 

[139] In this gloomy, yet interesting cavern, we saw no 
living thing, excepting two bats, which were in a torpid 
state. Whilst exploring the most distant recesses of the 
cave, one of our candles was accidentally extinguished. 
The extinguishment of our other light would, perhaps, 
have been fatal to us. The darkness of this dreary region 
is palpable. No ray of nature's light ever visited it. Its 
silence too is full of thought. The slippery step of the 
traveller, and the stilly drippings of the slimy concave, 
yielded a contrast which made silence speak. Our own 
appearance interested us. We forgot ourselves, and un- 
consciously dwelt upon two ragged Fiends, prying, with 
taper dim, along the confines of this doleful place. We 
saw these beings under the low sides of the cave knocking 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 243 

off some large petrifactions. We said, who are they ? — 
and almost shuddered to find they were ourselves. 

As soon as the storm ceased we set sail from the Bay, 
and the next evening arrived at Erie. In this harbour 
were several United States' vessels of considerable mag- 
nitude. The banks of the harbour, on the town side, are 
high, steep, and romantic; and from them there is an ex- 
tensive view of the Lake. The harbour itself is spacious, 
and the water deep. 

At this place the celebrated General Wayne died,^^ upon 
his return from his campaign against the Indians. Such 
was the success of this great soldier, and such the terror 
which he inspired among the savages against whom he 
fought, that to this day they call him the ''sinews. ' ' His 
mode of proceeding into the country of the enemy ought 
ever to be imitated. Indians may always be defeated by 
good troops, unless when the latter are ambushed, and 
surprised. General Wayne proceeded with the greatest 
caution during the forepart of the day, and [140] in the 
afternoon employed his men in fortifying for the night ; the 
consequence was, that he avoided every ambuscade, ulti- 
mately met the enemy, and gave them a chastising which 
made a lasting impression upon their minds. 

After reaping many laurels in this campaign, General 
Wayne was returning home to enjoy the grateful saluta- 
tions of his fellow citizens; but death arrested him at 
Erie. — 

"The path of glory leads but to the grave." 

After leaving Detroit, I received a letter from the Secre- 
tary of the Lyceum there, informing me of my having, on 
the evening of my departure, been admitted an honourary 
member of that institution. I mention this fact for the 

'* General Anthony Wayne died at Erie, Pennsylvania, in December, 
1796. — Ed. 

244 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

purpose of introducing an anecdote respecting it, which 
was communicated to me after my return home, and which 
afforded me much amusement. 

In passing through the country, in the early stages of 
my tour, some weak minded persons, who thought that 
my excursion was so frought with danger as to render it 
presumptuous, were offended by the undertaking; and 
adding a Httle ill-nature to this idea, their invectives were 
even more keen than the wintry winds. One of these per- 
sons, whose common sense is like Shakspeare's grain of 
wheat in a bushel of chaff ; and whose learning is equalled 
only by that of the good Mrs. Maleprop, exclaimed one 
day, upon seeing some newspaper, which contained an 
account of the Pedestrian having been admitted into the 
Lyceum at Detroit, ' ' well, they have got him into the mad- 
house at last ! ' ' Mad-house ? said a friend. Yes, replied 
this Xenophen of the age, — ' * the mad-house ! — the Ly- 
ceum ! — all the same thing ! ' ' 

[141] From Erie I proceeded to Waterford, a distance of 
fourteen miles. At this place the snow upon the ground 
was eighteen inches deep. The spring in the west was 
very backward. I shall speak upon this topic in another 

Waterford is a small village, and is situated on the Creek 
Le Beuf . At this place is a block house, which was erected 
during the old French war.^^ The Creek Le Beuf is about 
five miles in length, and about six rods wide. Between 
this creek and French Creek, there is a little lake, covering 
about ten acres. French Creek is eighty miles long, and 
about twenty rods in width. This creek is one of the 
sources of the Alleghany river, and enters it near Fort 
Franklin. The Alleghany river rises on the west of the 

** For a brief history of Fort Le Boeuf, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of 
our series, note 65. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 245 

mountains of this name ; and after running about two hun- 
dred miles meets the Monongahela. 

The Creek Le Beuf is very crooked, and French Creek 
considerably so. The principal boats upon these and upon 
the Alleghany river are called keels. They are constructed 
like a whale boat, sharp at both ends; their length is 
about seventy feet, breadth ten feet, and they are rowed 
by two oars at each end. These boats will carry about 
twenty tons, and are worth two hundred dollars. At the 
stern of the boat is a stearing oar, which moves on a pivot, 
and extends about twelve feet from the stern. These 
boats move down the river with great velocity. Through 
the sinuosities of the narrow creek Le Beuf, the oar in the 
stern, by being pressed against the banks, gives to the boat 
a great impetus. 

In going up the rivers these boats are poled. The poles 
are about eight feet in length, and the bottom of them en- 
ters a socket of iron, which causes the point of the pole to 
sink immediately. This [142] business is very laborious, 
and the progress of the boats slow. 

The land near the creek Le Beuf and French Creek, 
particularly the former, is low and cold. Wild fowl are 
here very numerous. The lands on each side of the Alle- 
ghany river, for one hundred and fifty miles above Pitts- 
burgh, are generally mountainous. The growth of timber 
here is principally white oak and chesnut, and in some 
places pitch pine. There are on this river some good 
lands, and some of a very inferior quality. But some of 
the best of the Pennsylvania tracts lie in the north west of 
the state. 

The banks of the Alleghany river are, in many places, 
exceedingly high, steep, and rocky. Whilst moving along 
the current they appear stupendous. The bed of this river 
and of French Creek is stony, and the water of them very 

246 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

clear. On these rivers are many rapids, over some of 
which boats move at the rate of twelve miles an hour. In 
passing down the Alleghany the scenery is delightful. The 
boats move with much velocity; the country scarcely seems 
inhabited ; the mountains, almost lost to vision, rise in rude 
majesty on both sides of the river; the pellucid aspect of 
the water; the darting fish; the anxious loon; the profound 
solitude, rendered more impressive by the regular dash of 
the oar: all these, and many other circumstances, carry 
the mind back to the days, when the original occupants 
of the neighbouring wilds lived under the simple govern- 
ment of nature, and did not dream of the storm, which civ- 
ilization was preparing for them. 

On French Creek are situated Meadville, Franklin, and 
several other inconsiderable places. Here too are the re- 
mains of several old forts. At Fort Franklin the French 
formerly kept a garrison." As [143] far down this river 
as Meadville the water is still. The principal falls on this 
creek and Alleghany river, are Montgomery, Patterson, 
Amberson, Nichalson, and Catfish. The creeks and rivers, 
which enter these waters, are numerous; but it is not 
deemed worth while to name them: the principal, how- 
ever, of those which enters the Alleghany are Toby's, 
Sandy, Lick, Pine, and Buffalo creeks; and Crooked and 
Kiskernanetas rivers.^* In some places on the Alleghany 
hills, there are fine farms. On the river is situated the lit- 
tle village of Armstrong; and behind the hills stands 
Lawrencetown.®^ I found marching over these mountains 

" This was Fort Venango; see Croghan's Journals, note 64. For Meadville, 
see Harris's Journal, volume iii of our scries, note 25. — Ed. 

•* Consult Post's Journals, in volume i of our series, notes 22, 89, for these 
rivers. — Ed. 

** Armstrong, nine miles northeast of Pittsburg, was named in honor of 
Colonel John Armstrong. In 1756 he led an expedition against the Delaware 
Indians who were ravaging the frontier, and destroyed their town at Kittanning. 

Lawrencetown, now Lawrenceville, is two miles east of Pittsburg. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 247 

very laborious; but the prospects from them richly repaid 
me for my pains. Here I dwelt upon the situation of this 
vicinity about the middle of the seventeenth century; of 
the wars between our ancestors and the French and In- 
dians; and of the youthful patriotism and prowess of our 
inimitable Washington. At the age of twenty-one, he was 
employed by his native State in an enterprise, which re- 
quired great courage, prudence, and physical vigour. 
Whilst this part of the country was occupied by the French, 
and inhabited by many hostile tribes of Indians, he trav- 
elled from Will's Creek, in Virginia, to Fort Du Quesne, 
situated at the forks of the Alleghany and Monongahela 
rivers; and from thence up the former to the French Fort 
on the Le Beuf.*"" During a part of this journey he pro- 
ceeded on foot, with a gun in his hand and a pack on his 
back. This enterprise developed faculties which after- 
wards saved his country. 

To eulogize this great and good man is in vain. He is so 
far above our praise, that we can honour him only in serv- 
ing that country which he so much loved. His wisdom 
and virtue constitute the greatest of human examples. 
Our children should early [144] be taught to know, to 
love, and to imitate him. 

The Alleghany river, near Pittsburgh, presents an ex- 
pansive aspect. At this place it meets the Monongahela 
from the south, and both pour their waters into the Ohio. 
In this union there is a silent grandeur. 

About two miles above this junction, on the Alleghany, 
is a small Fort; and here some troops are stationed. The 
situation of the Fort is very retired and interesting. 

Pittsburgh lies in the state of Pennsylvania, and is sit- 

100 -poT a brief account of this journey, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of 
our series, note 45. Washington's starting point was the Virginia capital, Win- 
chester. Fort Duquesne was not erected until 1754. — Ed. 

248 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

uated on the point of land formed by the Alleghany and 
Monongahela. Fort Pitt occupies the scite of the old Fort 
Du Quesne; but even the former is now in ruins. '"^ Oppo- 
site to Pittsburgh, on the Alleghany, is a considerable vil- 
lage, and preparation is making for building a bridge across 
this part of the river. There are also a considerable num- 
ber of buildings on the opposite side of the Monongahela. 
Immediately back of these buildings there is a ridge of 
very high and steep hills, which contain inexhaustible coal 
mines. Some coal mines exist also in the Alleghany hills, 
and in the banks of the Ohio. Those on the west of the 
Monongahela, constitute a horizontal strata six inches 
thick and apparently unlimited in its direction through 
the mountain. This coal is superior to that of England : 
it is heavier, and contains a greater quantity of the bitu- 
menous quality. The general price of this article at Pitts- 
burgh is about six cents a bushel. 

The town of Pittsburgh, viewed from the confluence of 
the two rivers, presents a contracted and an unfavourable 
aspect; but from other situations it appears much better. 
Its scite is level and rather low ; and the rivers, during their 
rise, flow for a considerable distance into the streets. The 
town [145] is very large. Many of its buildings are of 
brick, and are generally of a large size. The streets cross 
each other at right angles, but are quite narrow. Owing 
to the exclusive use of coal here, both by the manufacturer, 
and by private families, the whole town presents a smoky 
appearance. Even the complexion of the people is affect- 
ed by this cause. The business of Pittsburgh is great; 
but is generally believed to be declining. This place is 
engaged in trade, more or less, with the whole western 
world; and may be considered the metropolis of this vast 

*"' For information regarding these forts, see A. Michaux's Travels, volume 
iii of our series, notes ii, 12; F. A. Michaux's Travels, op. cit., note 20. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 249 

tract of country. It procures its foreign goods, principally, 
from Philadelphia and Baltimore ; which goods are brought 
in waggons across the Alleghany mountains. The dis- 
tance from these places to Pittsburgh is about three hun- 
dred miles; and the price of conveying the goods thither 
by the usual route, is from five to six dollars per one hun- 
dred weight. This place also transacts some little busi- 
ness with the City of New- York, by the way of the Hud- 
son and Mohawk, Lakes Ontario and Erie, and the river 
Alleghany. Provisions in Pittsburgh are, generally, cheap. 
Foreign goods, however, are necessarily high. 

This place is celebrated for its manufactories, and will 
become the Birmingham of America. Here, one may see 
the surprising progress, which the people of this country 
are making in mechanics of almost every kind, both as it 
respects invention and workmanship. Indeed it is evident, 
that in the United States the elements of the body politic 
are all in the most healthful action, and that we are rapidly 
approaching to a glorious manhood. We have only, in 
our progress, to guard against two evils : — an undue at- 
tachment to money, and too little regard for sound morals 
and solid learning. The extraordinary attention, which 
has of late been paid to the [146] moral and religious edu- 
cation of children, promises to furnish for the future ser- 
vice of our country, men of true wisdom ; — ' * men who 
will fear God and hate covetousness. " 

Speaking merely as a politician, I may say, that a due 
regard to this part of education is the great desideratum 
in civil government. But in relation to a future state the 
subject is of infinitely greater consequence. Our sabbath 
schools, in which children are taught to commit to mem- 
ory the Sacred Oracles, have been attended with such won- 
derful success, that they appear to be forming a new epoch 
in the progress of the Christian Religion. This is a field 

250 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

in which thousands can do much good. Heaven has thus 
opened a new vineyard, in which almost any one may re- 
move the noxious weed, and nourish the tender plant. 

Ship and boat building is actively carried on at Pitts- 
burgh ; but of late no vessels of a large tonnage have been 
made, on account of the dangers incident to getting them 
down the Ohio. Very few of the vessels and boats built 
here ever return up the river so far as this place; and of 
course there is here a constant demand for new vessels. 
Strangers from every part of the sea board, generally take 
this place in their way to the West. Emigrants from 
every quarter are continually arriving here, and stand in 
need of boats of various kinds to transport their goods and 
their families. A great many foreign emigrants, partic- 
ularly those of them who are mechanics, are often arriv- 
ing from New-York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, to 
Pittsburgh; and from the latter place some of them pass 
on to the manufacturing establishments further west. 

The sects of christians in Pittsburgh are very numerous. 
The Christian Religion is so momentous, and, in some re- 
spects^ so mysterious a subject, that it [147] is perfectly 
natural for people, in looking beyond those of its prin- 
ciples, which are easily understood, and which are suffi- 
cient to make plain before us the path of duty, to be di- 
vided in opinion respecting it. This would be the effect, 
in a greater or less degree, upon all abstract questions, or 
upon questions involving principles beyond the reach of 
our intellectual vision. The human mind too, is prone ta 
dispute upon unessential points; and here, principally, 
arises pride of opinion, and the spirit of persecution. — 
There is nothing in the questions themselves to ennoble 
the mind, or to give force and dignity to its investigations. 
It is upon trifles, that even great minds become passionate. 

Nearly all the sects of christians subscribe to the doc- 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 251 

trines of faith, repentance, holiness, and charity; of course 
the great variety of sects do not call in question the con- 
sistency of God's holy word. 

Trifles give rise to sects; pride supports, and novelty 
obtains proselytes for them. Upon these trifles are, from 
time to time, engrafted views and objects of more weight, 
and hence the sect becomes respectable. — A congrega- 
tional society becomes divided on account of some petty 
dispute upon a minor question involved in church disci- 
pline, or in relation to taxation for the support of the min- 
istry. The consequence is, that in a few weeks an 
episcopalian, and a baptist, and perhaps other societies 
become established in the same town. Where the opposi- 
tionists will not resort to a new form, some variations will 
be suggested, and texts of scripture will be found to sanc- 
tion them. — The protestants gave rise to the sect of puri- 
tans; and the presbyterians have created the sect of sece- 

No man who is acquainted with the human mind and 
heart, and who is well versed in ecclesiastical history, will 
ever suffer himself to be partial to one [148] sect above 
another of sincere and pious christians. A man cannot 
say, that, under certain circumstances, he might not him- 
self become a bitter sectary. What has been may be 
again; and what may be may be now. — Our righteous 
ancestors fled from the persecuting hand of christianized 
Europe; and, in America, they, in their turn, persecuted 
unto death the sect of Quakers. Where was their humil- 
ity ! — where was their charity ! I would sooner trust a 
mad man than a religious zealot ; and I should think that 
man weak minded, who would not be perfectly and 
equally willing to engage in public worship with any sect 
of pious and sincere christians on earth. 

Many people pretend to know too much respecting the 

252 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

mysterious parts of religion. The great apostle of the 
Gentiles, who, as a man, possessed a powerful and highly 
improved mind, and, as a christian, abounded in grace 
said, that "here we see through a glass darkly;" yet mere 
babes in the knowledge of the christian system, pretend 
even to demonstrate concerning it, what, in the nature of 
things, is not demonstrable. In young ministers this is 
the foppery of learning; and in old ones clerical pride. 

Many persons too, are dissatisfied with the light which 
exists upon this subject ; and hence arise fruitless specula- 
tions, and ultimate unbelief. God has sufficiently en- 
lightened our path to futurity; and he has condescend- 
ingly done it, to quicken us in the christian course, and to 
cheer us in the hour of death. Instead, however, of grate- 
fully considering this expression of kindness as a gift, we 
look, with discontent, for the development of the whole 
counsel of Heaven concerning us: — this is pride! — this 
is presumption ! 

But I may add, that if this light affects only the reason- 
ing powers of man, it will never, in my humble [149] opin- 
ion^ eventuate in that faith which is necessary to the pro- 
duction of a pure heart and holy life. The moral as well 
as the intellectual man must be enlightened. True faith 
resides altogether in the heart. — This is the theatre of 
hope and fear, joy and sorrow, love and hatred ; — the 
theatre of guilt, and of repentance; the theatre of rebel- 
lion, of obedience, and of prayer. 

As I dislike to see a layman in theology, or a theologian 
in politics, I shall say no more upon this subject. 

The people of Pittsburgh are not, generally speaking, 
remarkable for their sociability. They are very attentive 
to their business, and seem to care but little about those 
around them. A next-door neighbour is, with them, fre- 
quently unknown; and months and years pass, without 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 253 

their exchanging with each other the ordinary compli- 
ments of friendship and good will. As is the case with 
many of the cities of Europe, a simple partition renders 
unknown, for a great length of time, those who live under 
the same roof. 

The inhabitants of Pittsburgh are very suspicious of the 
Yankees; and judging from the character of a few, un- 
charitably condemn the whole. This is more or less the 
case throughout the west. The Yankees are every where 
considered, an intelligent, hardy, bold, active, and enter- 
prising people; but they are supposed to be excessively 
fond of money, and frequently to obtain it by fraudulent 

As to the love of money it is, throughout the whole coun- 
try, poisoning the fountain of individual and national 
respectability; but as to the means of obtaining it, the 
Yankees are, probably, as honest as other people. 

The characteristics of the people of any particular town, 
generally depend upon the disposition and [150] habits of 
its first settlers. Sometimes these first settlers are hos- 
pitable and fond of society; and sometimes they are exclu- 
sively devoted to business, and consider every stranger, 
who makes his appearance among them, as actuated by 
the same views. 

With respect to the characteristics of the people of 
Pittsburgh, I judge only from information which I ob- 
tained there, and which appeared to be sanctioned by the 
general aspect of things in relation to them. 

During my short visit at this place, I became particu- 
larly acquainted with the family of E. B. Esq.; and men- 
tion this circumstance for the purpose of affording myself 
the satisfaction of expressing some sentiments respect- 
ing them. So interesting were they, that I have, ever 
since I left them, regretted the loss of their society. Mr. 

2 54 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

B. is a German; has travelled a great deal, both in Europe 
and America; is acquainted with many languages; pos- 
sesses very extensive information ; and is a man of a sound 
and discriminating mind. Possessing too, much sensibil- 
ity, and much delicacy of taste, his ideas are polished, and 
interestingly expressed. In Mrs. B. are combined good 
sense, simplicity, and benevolence. E**** is sensible, 
and innocently romantic; and in the little daughters are 
blended much vivacity and loveliness. 

On the back part of Pittsburgh there is a rise of ground, 
called Grant's Hill. Here one may have a perfect view of 
the town; and its appearance from this position is very 
much in its favour. This hill was occupied by the Eng- 
lish General Grant during tl^ old French war; and here 
he surrendered to the enemy.^"^ About nine miles up the 
Monongahela is the place called Braddock's Fields.*"^ It 
is celebrated by the defeat there of the general of this 
name. These fields are also noted by their [151] being 
the rendezvous of the Whiskey Boys during the western 
insurrection in 1794. The defeat of Braddock took place 
in 1755. Many vestiges of this bloody engagement are 
still visible. It is well known that here our Washington 
acted as a volunteer aid to General Braddock ; and by his 
intrepidity, and military skill, saved the English troops 
from total destruction. In the engagement Washington 
had two horses shot under him, and received four balls 
through his clothes. 

The Monongahela river is a noble stream. It rises at 
the foot of the Laurel mountains, is about four hundred 
yards wide at its mouth, is navigable at a great distance, 

'•" Regarding Grant's defeat, see Harris's Journal, volume iii of our scries, 
note 30. — Ed. 

*<" For an account of Braddock's defeat, see F. A. Michaux's Travels, note 
19. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 255 

and its current is deep and gentle. Across this river, at 
Pittsburgh, an elegant bridge has recently been erected. 

After remaining at Pittsburgh two days, I descended 
the Ohio for a few miles, and then landed on its western 
bank. The state of Ohio is situated altogether on the 
west of the river, and is bounded east by Pennsylvania, 
north by Lake Erie and Michigan Territory, and west by 
Indiana. The length of the river is about eleven hundred 
mOes, and its average breadth about one half of a mile ; in 
some places, however, its width is about twice this distance. 
The river is, generally, very deep, sufficiently so for the 
navigation of large ships. Its aspect is placid and clear; 
and when the water is high, is expansive and beautiful. It 
contains a great many islands, and is stored with a variety 
of fish and fowl. The river sometimes rises forty or fifty 
feet, and greatly endangers the settlements upon its banks. 
Sometimes too, the river is low and appears inconsiderable. 
Its sinuosities are numerous, and in the spring of the year, 
the abrasive effect of the floating ice and trees upon its 
banks is very great. 

[152] The general aspect of the state of Ohio is rather 
level than otherwise. There are here no elevations which 
can be called mountains; but the country is gently diver- 
sified. The upper part of it is most hilly. West of Chili- 
cothe it is nearly level. In various parts of the state, there 
are extensive prairies covered with high grass. Those 
near the river are small ; but those in the interior are from 
thirty to fifty miles in extent. The soil of the state is, 
generally, very fertile ; but as is the case every where else, 
some of its lands are sterile, and some unfit for cultiva- 
tion. Its forests are spacious and elegant. The sycamore 
trees here are numerous, and some of them surpris- 
ingly large. In this and the other western states there is 
still considerable game ; but the hand of civilization having 

256 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

here wantonly destroyed much, a scarcity has, for some 
time, been experienced. 

Most of the western states in a great measure resemble, 
as to their aspect, the state of Ohio. This whole range of 
country is better calculated for the production of grain 
than for the growth of cattle. The pastures here, however, 
are rich ; and the woods so abound with nuts, that immense 
herds of swine are raised in them without the least expence. 
The climate, judging from the general appearance of the 
inhabitants, I should suppose much less healthy than that 
of New-England ; and in particular situations the fever and 
ague, and bilious fevers are very prevalent. 

In travelling from Pittsburgh to New- Orleans, I some- 
times moved upon the rivers, and sometimes marched in 
the woods. In the latter the traveller is, during the 
summer season, greatly annoyed by musquetoes. Having 
no covering, I was often employed during the whole night 
in defending myself against them. Here I may observe, 
that from the [153] time of my leaving Pittsburgh to my 
arrival at New- Orleans, I slept in the open air about thirty 
nights. The night dews did not affect my health. 

The boats which float upon the river Ohio are various: 
— from the ship of several hundred tons burthen, to the 
mere skiff. Very few if any very large vessels, however, 
are now built at Pittsburgh, or indeed at any other place on 
the Ohio. They were formerly built on this river, partic- 
ularly at Pittsburgh and Marietta; but the difficulties inci- 
dent to getting them to the ocean, have rendered such 
undertakings unfrequent. 

An almost innumerable number of steam boats, barks, 
keels, and arks, are yearly set afloat upon this river, and 
upon its tributary streams. The barks are generally 
about one hundred tons burthen, have two masts, and 
are rigged as schooners, and hermaphrodite brigs. The 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 257 

keels have, frequently, covered decks, and sometimes 
carry one mast. These and also the barks are sometimes 
rowed and sometimes moved up the river by poling, and 
by drawing them along shore with ropes. The flat boat 
or ark is of a clumsy construction ; but very burthensome. 
Its foundation consists of sills like those of a house, and to 
these is trunneled a floor of plank. The sides are of boards 
loosely put together, and the top is covered in the same 
way. The bottom of the boat, and so much of the sides 
as come in contact with the water, are caulked. Some of 
this kind of boat wiU carry four or five hundred barrels of 
flour, besides considerable quantities of bacon, cheese, and 
other produce. On the deck of the ark are two large oars, 
moving on pivots, and at the stem there is a large stearing 
oar. The progress of the ark is principally in floating 
with the current ; and the oars are seldom used excepting 
for the purpose of rowing ashore. 

[154] The business carried on by boats, on the Ohio and 
Mississippi, is immense. The freight of goods up and 
down these rivers is high; and the freighting business here 
is exceedingly profitable. No property pays so great an 
interest as that of steam boats on these rivers. A trip of a 
few weeks yields one hundred per cent upon the capital 

The arks, and, generally speaking, the keels, when they 
reach New- Orleans, seldom return up the river again. 
The former are sold for lumber. 

The current of the Ohio is about four miles an hour. 
That of the Mississippi is rather quicker. 

On the river Ohio, nearly opposite to Louisville, there 
are rapids, the descent of which is about twenty-three feet 
in the distance of two miles. Owing to this circumstance 
many boats do not return from below this place. This 
difficulty, however, is about to be removed by a canal, 

258 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

which will give to the river, at this place, another direc- 
tion/"^ This is the only considerable obstruction in the 
whole course of the Ohio. 

In the rapids there are three passages, and they are all 
taken at different times, according to the state of the river. 
Pilots are, by law, appointed to navigate boats down the 
rapids. The quantity of water in the river often varies: 
it sometimes both rises and falls in the course of a few 

Before I proceed further down this river, I must notice 
those parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia, which lie on the 
Ohio. The western boundary of Pennsylvania lies about 
forty miles west of French Creek and Alleghany river; and 
west of Pittsburgh, on both sides of the Ohio, about the 
same distance. North-west, it is bounded by a part of 
Lake Erie, and south by a part of Virginia. 

A part of the state of Virginia lies on the Ohio, [155] 
having a part of Pennsylvania on the east,*"^ and Ken- 
tucky on the west. The principal waters, which enter the 
Ohio from Pennsylvania, are the Big Beaver on the north, 
and Racoon Creek on the south. 

In travelling in the vicinity of the western rivers, I could 
not always obtain good accommodations upon them. As 
such accommodations, however, were of but little conse- 
quence to me, I always, when I wished to descend the 
rivers, jumped into the first boat I could find. — Some- 
times I moved along in a keel, sometimes in an ark, and 
sometimes rowed myself in a little skiff. By taking this 
course, I not only could land when I pleased, but became 
particularly acquainted with the navigation of the rivers, 
and with the various means of transportation upon them. 

'"* The Louisville-Portland Canal was completed in 1830. — Ed. 
'** For the Virginia-Pennsylvania boundary, consult F. A. Michaux's Trav- 
els, note 31. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 259 

My society, it is true, was not always the best; but, per- 
haps, not the less instructive for this circumstance. To 
become practically acquainted with the world, one must 
see human nature in all its aspects. Sometimes I met real 
gentlemen, and sometimes fell in with the perfect boor. I 
was not known to any one; but the boatmen, frequently 
becoming sick, applied to me for medical aid ; and hence I 
acquired the title of Doctor. 

My prescriptions were always simple; and, strange to 
tell, I did not lose a single patient. My knowledge of the 
Materia Medica was, no doubt, limited. Without, how- 
ever, consulting Celsus or Boerhave, I always told the 
sick, that in a few days, they would be perfectly well. I 
really suppose that men often die, because they think they 
shall. Much depends, in sickness, upon the state of the 
mind. Our intellectual and physical nature always sym- 
pathise with each other. Resistance lessens the force of 
an attack; and there is something [156] in the declaration, 
I will not be conquered ! which fortifies both the mind and 
the body. 

My next learned theory was, that nature loves herself; 
and, in sickness, requires, in many cases, only a little aid 
to enable her so to exert her powers as to produce the de- 
sired effect. The most simple prescriptions, if efficient, 
are always the best. Powerful remedies tend to disorgan- 
ize the most subtle functions of the animal economy ; and 
by curing one disease to produce a complication of many 

But I would not call in question the importance of the 
profession of medicine. As to its station in the catalogue 
of sciences, it ranks among the very first. This profession 
presents to the human mind the most extensive field for 
investigation. The great science of physiology is its 
basis; and chymistry, the wonderful magician, by whom 

26o Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

the constituent parts of matter are ascertained, the effects 
of their various combinations discovered, and the pro- 
duction of new qualities realized. The physician should 
be, emphatically, a child of nature, and well acquainted 
with the principles of her government, both with respect 
to mind and matter. 

Upon the western rivers a great many boatmen die, and 
their graves upon the banks are numerous; hence those 
who are taken sick are, generally, much alarmed. 

The boatmen of the west are conspicuous for their 
habits of intemperance, and swearing. Whilst on the 
western rivers my ears were shocked by their oaths and 
curses. I endeavoured to lessen this practice. To effect 
my object I, occasionally, associated with them ; and by a 
kind, free, and yet grave manner, prepared the way for 
some friendly counsel upon the subject. They saw that 
I did not feel above their labours, or their modes of living. 
— I fully participated in their hard fare ; slept across 
flour [157] barrels, without bed or covering, drank water 
from the river, and sometimes laboured at their oars. 
Thus I gained their confidence and their good will. 

At one time, during the silence of evening, I addressed 
about twenty boatmen upon the subject of swearing. I 
represented the practice as not only wicked, but idle, low, 
and unmanly. They heard me with attention, some of 
them made many acknowledgments, and whilst I con- 
tinued with them, they swore little or none. Upon many 
other occasions I spake to boatmen upon the subject; and 
from their manner, I have no doubt that the practice of 
swearing among them might be rendered less common. 
But, perhaps, there is no habit, the controul of which de- 
pends less upon the will than that of swearing. The 
tongue is a little member, and often moves ere the judg- 
ment can controul the impulses of the heart. A pretty lad, 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 261 

in one of the western boats, attracted my attention, both 
by his beauty and his profaneness. After speaking to 
him upon the subject, I offered him a dollar upon the con- 
dition of his not swearing for the remainder of the day. 
He was much pleased with the proposition ; but after con- 
trouling himself with much watchfulness, for about an 
hour, he became discouraged, and partially returned to 
his long established practice. Let those, who are so happy 
as to be free from this vice, guard against the subtle influ- 
ences of its example. 

As to intemperance, I think it is by no means peculiar, 
even in degree, to this part of the country. But I am 
happy in being able to add, that during a tour which I 
took through the middle and southern states in 1815; and 
also during that, an account of which I am now writing, I 
witnessed much less intemperance than information pre- 
viously obtained had led me to anticipate. Still, there is, 
in the [158] United States, much inebriation, and a great 
want of economy in the use of spirituous liquors. By the 
distillery of grain among us, the community are, some- 
times, deprived of the necessary quantity of bread ; and a 
substitute is furnished which tends, at once, to beggar, and 
to depopulate the country. 

Before I dismiss these topics, I may add, that I have 
often heard of the low conversation, which is said to pre- 
vail among the boatmen of the west; and also of their 
quarrelsome and fighting habits. All these practices are 
much less than they are represented to be. 

Here I may be permitted to observe, that with respect 
to low conversation, many who call themselves gentlemen, 
and pass for such in the world, are highly culpable. Inde- 
cency is a vice committed without temptation. It cor- 
rupts the moral sense, and deprives the human heart of 
all those etherial visitations, which remind man of his 

262 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

original innocence, and eloquently persuade him that 
there are pleasures far above those of sense. Indeed, how 
evident is it, that when we cultivate pure and upright 
affections, the blessed spirits of truth and peace visit our 
hearts, enlarge our views of moral nature, and tell us of 
nameless hopes. The infirmities of man would add an 
interest to human nature, if they were not voluntarily dis- 
played. When covered with the mantle of an amiable 
and sensible delicacy, they blend the ideas of weakness and 
suffering here, with perfection and immortality hereafter. 

That part of the state of Virginia which lies on the Ohio, 
extends from about forty miles below Pittsburg to Great 
Sandy River, the line between this state and Kentucky. 
The western parts of Virginia are mountainous, and a good 
grazing country. The soil below the mountains, though 
not [159] rich, is well calculated for the growth of tobacco 
and Indian corn. Many of the ridges of land in this 
state are very fertile; particularly the Blue Ridge. 

The town of Wheeling, in Virginia, is situated on the 
Ohio, twelve miles above Grave Creek; and on this creek 
is a celebrated Indian grave. ^"^ 

The principal rivers and creeks, which enter the Ohio 
from this state, are Charteer's, Big Grave," Baker's, Fish, 
and Fishing creek ; and Little Kenhawa, Great Kenhawa, 
and the Great Sandy River. ^''^ 

The Great Kenhawa is nearly three hundred yards wide 
at its junction with the Ohio ; but its rapids are numerous, 
and its navigation very difficult. It derives its sources, 
through a vast tract of country, from the Laurel and Alle- 
ghany mountains on the north-east, from the Cumberland 

'* For Wheeling, see A. Michaux's Travels, note 15; for Grave Creek, see 
Cuming's Tour, volume iv of our series, note 78. — Ed. 

*"' For Chartier River, see Weiscr's Journal, volume i of our series, note 18; 
for the Little and Big Kanawha, see Croghan's Journals, op. cil., notes 98, loi; 
for Fish Creek, see Harris's Journal, volume iii of our series, note 37. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 263 

mountains on the west, and from the mountains in North 
Carolina near the sources of the Roanoke. On the Great 
Kenhawa are inexhaustible lead mines. 

The principal source of the Great Sandy River is in the 
Cumberland mountains. Its length is not great ; and it is 
navigable for loaded batteaux only about fifty miles. At 
its mouth it is about sixty yards wide, and it enters the 
Ohio opposite to Galliopolis. This place was settled by a 
company of French emigrants; but in 1796 disease and 
other misfortunes caused them to abandon the establish- 

The town of Steubenville, in the state of Ohio, extends 
for a considerable distance along the bank of the river.*''" 
There are here some manufactories, and several handsome 
dwelling-houses. Its situation is considerably elevated, 
and here and there are some large trees which were spared 
from the forest. 

The first principal river which enters the Ohio, and 
which finds its source in that state is the Muskingum. 
This river is situated about one hundred [160] and seventy 
miles below Pittsburg, and is, at its confluence with the 
Ohio, nearly one hundred and fifty yards wide. It is 
navigable for large batteaux to a place called the Three 
Legs,"" one hundred miles from its mouth, and for small 

'"* A brief account of^Gallipolis may be found in F. A. Michaux's Travels, 
volume iii of our series, pp. 182-185. Tbe settlement was not entirely aban- 
doned. — Ed. 

*"' See Cuming's Tour, volume iv of our series, note 67, for the early history 
of Steubenville. — Ed. 

"" Three Legs town, so called from a famous Delaware Indian, was situated 
at the junction of Tuscarawas Creek and the Muskingum, near the site of the 
present Coshocton. 

The portage path from the Cuyahoga to the Tuscarawas branch of the Mus- 
kingum, a distance of eight miles, is probably one of the oldest highways in 
the West, having been the route of the buffaloes across the summit of the state. 
It formed part of the Indian boundary line in the treaties of Fort Mcintosh 
(1785), Fort Harmar (1789), and Fort Wayne (1795). A road built between 

264 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

ones to its source, which is within seven miles of the Cay- 

ahoga. The Muskingum presents a gentle appearance, 
and near its banks there are valuable salt springs, and con- 
siderable quantities of coal and free stone. 

The town of Marietta is situated on the east of the 
junction of the Ohio and Muskingum.^" Its position is 
pleasant; but it has a deserted aspect, and is rapidly de- 
clining. It is not true, that the Muskingum is not subject 
to inundations. All the banks of the western river are, 
more or less, exposed to freshets; and this circumstance 
considerably lessens the value of the lands and buildings 
upon them. At the mouth of the Muskingum stands Fort 

The Hockhocking is rather smaller than the Muskin- 
gum, and is situated about twenty-five miles below the 
latter.*" On the banks of this river are quarries of free 
stone, iron and lead mines, pit-coal, and salt springs. 
There are some fine lands on both of these rivers. 

The town of Athens lies on the Hockhocking, about 
forty miles from the Ohio. It is pleasantly situated, and 
is the seat of the Ohio University. 

The River Scioto is even larger than the Muskingum. 
It is navigable nearly two hundred miles, and is connected 
with the river Sandusky, which enters Lake Erie, by a port- 
age of four mUes. On the Scioto, about one hundred mUes 
from the Ohio, is the town of Chilicothe."^ This place is 
the seat of government. Not far from the Scioto, are salt 

these two streams in 1898, followed almost exactly this old portage trail. See 
Hulbert, "Indian Thoroughfares of Ohio," in Ohio Archaeological and His- 
torical Society Publications, volume viii. — Ed. 

"^ For the early history of Marietta and Fort Harmar, see A. Michaux's 
Travels, volume iii of our series, note 16. — Ed. 

"^ On the Hockhocking River, consult Croghan's Journals, volume i of our 
series, note 99. — Ed. 

'" For a brief account of Chillicothe, see F. A. Michaux's Travels, volume 
iii of our series, note 35. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 265 

springs, which belong to the state; also coal, free stone, 
and several kinds of valuable clay. 

[161] The town of Cincinnati"* is situated on the east of 
the Great Miami, near its junction with the Ohio. This 
town is pleasantly situated, and presents the appearance 
of much business. It is a very flourishing place. There 
are several manufactories here, one of which is situated 
at the foot of the bank, and is eight or ten stories high. 

In Cincinnati is situated Fort Washington. This is the 
first of that chain of forts which extends west. On the 
eastern branch of the Great Miami is Fort St. Clair; and 
on the western branches Forts Jefferson and Greenville. 
On the river Calumet, which enters the Wabash, stands 
fort Recovery; and just above this fort is the place of St. 
Clair's defeat."^ 

The Great Miami is the boundary of the state of Ohio 
on the river of this name. The Great Miami is about three 
hundred yards wide at its mouth, and interlocks with the 
Scioto, above ChUicothe. One of its branches runs within 
four miles of the Miami of the Lake, and within seven 
miles of the Sandusky. The bed of the Great Miami is 
stony, and its current rapid. Just above its mouth is fort 

"* Regarding the early history of Cincinnati, see Cuming's Tour, volume 
*v of our series, note i66. — Ed. 

"* Fort Washington — afterwards within the hmits of Cincinnati — was 
established (1789) by Major Doughty opposite the mouth of the^Licking River, 
to protect the frontier from the Indians. Generals Harmar, St. Clair, and 
Wayne used it as headquarters in conducting their Indian campaigns. 

About sixty-five miles north of Cincinnati, St. Clair built Fort Jefferson (1791) 
as a base of operations during his Indian campaign. 

Fort St. Clair was a stockade built by the general of that name in the winter 
of 1791-92 to keep communication open between Fort Jefferson and the Ohio 

For Fort Greenville, see Buttrick's Voyages, ante, note 32. After construct- 
ing Fort Greenville, Wayne sent a detachment to the scene of St. Clair's de- 
feat, twenty-three miles to the north, where they established Fort Recovery, 
December, 1793. — Ed. 

266 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

There are many small creeks and towns near the Ohio^ 
which in my course I saw and visited; but which furnish 
no interesting materials for remark. Besides, I am not 
writing a Gazetteer; and with geography, my fellow-citi- 
zens are well acquainted. 

I may here speak, as I promised, upon the probable 
course of the seasons in the west. I am much inclined to 
believe, that the cold seasons, which the people of New- 
England have for many years experienced, and which have 
so much injured the interests of agriculture among us, are 
passing off to the west; and that the people of the west 
will, for several years, experience seasons less favourable 
than usual. My opinion is founded upon the facts, that for 
the two last years we have experienced more favourable 
[162] seasons, and the people of the west less favourable 
ones, in the same comparative proportions. This is a good 
criterion by which to form an opinion upon the subject. 
The change of seasons in both sections of the country prove 
and corroborate each other. 

The spring and summer of 181 7 were, with us, less un- 
favourable than usual. The hopes of our farmers, and 
of those who depend for a sufficiency of provisions upon 
an abundant market, were considerably revived ; and this 
year we have experienced something like a good old-fash- 
ioned season. The golden ears of corn, more beautiful 
than the productions of the richest mines, have again 
brightened our fields, and cheered our hearts. Had un- 
genial seasons continued much longer, this part of the 
country would have become impoverished and depopu- 
lated: — people were going down into Egypt for bread. 

Last year the seed time and harvest of the west were un- 
favourable; and the spring of 1818 was in the highest de- 
gree unpromising. In the western parts of Virginia, where 
the climate is, usually, warmer than on the east of the 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 267 

mountains; and in the states of Ohio, Kentucky, &c. 
planting time this year was very backward. When, ac- 
cording to the usual course of the seasons, it was time for 
corn to appear above the surface of the ground, ploughing 
had not commenced. Some of the farmers asserted, that 
the season was even later than the spring before by five or 
six weeks. 

During the month of May, the weather in the west was 
cold and windy. On the 3d of this month the birds were 
assembling for a more southern climate. They were so 
chilled that I caught many of them without difficulty; and 
others of them perished in the night. The season for the 
commencement of [163] vegetation here is probably four 
weeks earlier than in New-Hampshire. 

Until my arrival at New-Orleans the weather, generally, 
was cold and dry; and even here the wind was frequently 
cool. About the middle of May I experienced frost in 
Kentucky ; and near the Mississippi the cotton, much later 
than this, was in a wretched state. In Tennessee, hereto- 
fore remarkable for the excellence of its cotton, this article, 
for two years past, has been rapidly degenerating. The 
severity of the last winter even in New- Orleans, was unpar- 
alleled. The streets there were covered with ice suffi- 
ciently hard to bear loaded waggons. 

Should Heaven favour the New-England states with 
good seasons, no country in the world would be preferable 
to it. Our unfavourable seasons have taught us our de- 
pendence upon that Being, ''who prepareth rain for the 
earth, and maketh grass to grow upon the mountains." 

I am of opinion, that for some years to come, our 
seasons will be remarkably fruitful. The earth here has, 
for a considerable time, been acquiring strength, which has 
not been called forth ; and having been accustomed to cool 
seasons, warm ones, operating upon this new acquisition 

268 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

of vegetative power, will cause an extraordinary impetus 
in the soil. 

I have spoken of our bright Indian harvest. The com 
of the west is much inferior to ours. Growing upon a rank 
soil, its production is rapid, and the kernel is large and un- 
substantial. Indian meal is seldom used in the west, ex- 
cepting for cattle; and very few persons there are ac- 
quainted with the Yankee mode of making Indian cakes. 
Being fond of this coarse bread, I frequently, during my 
tour, instructed the gentle dames of the west in this New- 
England custom. But in many cases, after waiting [164] 
an hour for my repast, I was deprived of most of it by the 
fondness of the children of the house for this new dish; 
and in one instance the kind mother could get rid of them 
only by knocking them under the table as fast as they 
would come up. 

The variety of birds which I saw in the western woods 
excited much interest. Many species entirely new to me 
made their appearance. Some of them were very beauti- 
ful. Many of these birds being common in the South of 
Europe, proves that the climate of the west is mild ; and the 
spontaneous growth of hops and grapes here speak favour- 
ably of its soil. 

Fruit trees, particularly peach and apple, flourish well 
in Ohio; but a more northern climate is more peculiarly 
calculated for the latter. 

The western country is exceedingly well adapted to the 
growth of hemp ; both as it respects its climate, and its ex- 
tensive levels of deep and rich mould. This advantage, 
and the abundance of excellent ship timber, and iron, 
which its forests and hills produce, would enable it to 
furnish for the market the finest ships. The black walnut 
here is said to be as durable as the live oak ; and the frames 
of vessels built upon the western waters, are frequently 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 269 

made of this wood. There is here too, an abundance of 
excellent yellow pine, suitable for masts and spars. These, 
with many other kinds of lumber, are rafted and floated 
down the rivers to New-Orleans, and there sell at a high 
price. Upon these rafts large quantities of produce are 
often transported to the same place. 

The produce carried down to this vast market consists, 
principally, of flour, corn, pork, beef, bacon, venison, flax, 
whiskey, lumber, and live stock, particularly horses. The 
foreign goods received into the western states, lying on 
the Mississippi and [165] Ohio, and their principal sources, 
come, as has been observed, from Philadelphia and Balti- 
more, by the way of Pittsburg. This place is the great 
depot for the supply of all places below it. Foreign goods 
to a large amount are also brought from New- Orleans; 
and some from Virginia, by the way of Richmond. 

In speaking of large vessels on the Ohio, I may add, 
that ships of large tonnage have been built on this river, 
laden for the West-Indies, and there sold, both vessel and 
cargo. A person in Europe, unacquainted with the geog- 
raphy of our western waters, would be astonished to 
see, in the Atlantic ocean, a large vessel, freighted with 
country produce, which was buflt and laden at Pitts- 
burgh, between two and three thousand miles from the 
Gulf of Mexico. 

How wonderfully impressive is the prospect, which this 
country presents to the politician, during his cogitations 
upon our remote destinies! Every thing is conspiring to 
render the United States far more populous than Europe. 
In the course of a few hundred years all that is great, and 
splendid will characterize us. — The arts of Greece, the 
arms of Rome, the pride of England wiU be ours. May 
God avert the rest ! 

Whilst on the Ohio, I was pleased with the appearance 

270 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

of the floating grist-mill used on this river. This kind of 
mill is supported by two boats, and the wheel moves be- 
tween them. The boats move both up and down the river, 
and when employment can be obtained, they are placed in 
the strongest current near the shore, and the mill is set in 
motion. Here there is no tax for ground rent, mill-dam, 
or race. 

In speaking of mills, I may advert to one which I saw 
in Indiana, and which excited some interest. As I was 
one day passing through a wood, near a [166] small log 
building, I heard a singular noise in the latter, and had the 
curiosity to look in. There was here a grist-mill moved 
by a horse, and attended by a little boy about nine years of 
age. The horse draws upon a stable fixed in a post ; but 
making no progress, he pushes back with his feet the plat- 
form upon which he stands, and which is of a circular 
form. Through the centre of this platform there is a post 
fixed in the ground. The walking of the horse sets the 
machinery in motion. The cogs, the wallower, the trunnel- 
head, and the stones operated pretty much in the usual 
way. The Lilliputian miller displayed all the airs and 
importance so common to the managers of such noisy es- 

In the state of Ohio, and in other places in the west, are 
some natural curiosities, with respect to which I must not 
be silent; but as I can probably throw no light upon the 
mystery in which they are involved, my remarks upon 
them will be brief. 

As to the bones of animals which have been found at the 
Licks, particularly at that called the Big Bone,"" I think 
there can be no doubt, that they are those of animals which, 
from a variety of causes, have perished there. Animals in 

"' For the Big Bone Lick, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of our series, 
note 104. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrious Tour 271 

the west were once very numerous, and, no doubt, vast 
herds of buffalo, elk, deer, and even the mammoth re- 
sorted thither. Probably many of them fell into these 
licks, either by accident, by contention, or by their eager- 
ness to get to the salt, and were thus destroyed. Some too 
probably killed themselves by the quantity of salt water 
which they drank; and where such vast numbers were con- 
stantly assembling, many must have died in consequence 
of disease and old age. 

Much less plausible suppositions can be suggested rel- 
ative to the vast mounds and walls of earth in the west; 
the former of which, it is said, contain human bones. 

[167] It may be presumed that these walls were erected 
for the purpose of defence. It is well known that savage 
tribes wage with each other the most destructive wars. 
Some of the tribes of North America have distinguished 
themselves by their blood-thirsty and exterminating dis- 
position. The Iroquois were once the terror of all the 
neighbouring tribes. By their hostile and ferocious spirit 
many of these tribes became nearly extinct. Of the Nado- 
naicks only four cabins or families remained. The Puans 
too, were not less formidable and fierce than the Iroquois. 
They violated every humane principle. The very name 
of stranger embittered them. They supposed themselves 
invincible, and persecuted and destroyed every tribe 
whom they could discover. There were other tribes sim- 
ilarly disposed. 

Now it may be supposed, that the tribes in the neigh- 
bourhood of those whose object it was to exterminate all 
other tribes, would assemble for mutual defence. Coali- 
sions of this kind are not unfrequent among savages. 
Further: nothing would be more natural than for savages, 
thus situated, to erect fortifications of trees and earth, for 
the purpose of securing themselves against the common 

272 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

enemy. Such a principle of self-defence would be nat- 
ural, and, of course, universal. 

As to the mounds of earth, supposed to contain human 
bones, it may be observed, that several tribes of Indians 
may have combined and fortified themselves against their 
enemies; and in this situation they may have been con- 
quered and destroyed. It is well known, that in Indian 
battles there is no quarter given. The dead bodies of sev- 
eral thousand persons thrown together and covered with 
earth, would make a vast heap. But even supposing that 
the enemy had not prevailed, famine, contagious [168] dis- 
eases, or even ordinary causes of death, would, among a 
great assemblage of people, produce, in a short time, a 
sufficient number of bodies to make on the surface of the 
earth a vast mound. Covering the dead with mounds of 
earth instead of digging graves for them, might not only 
be found convenient, under certain circumstances, but is 
a custom peculiar to the aborigines of America. 

The finding of one or two pieces of ancient coin in the 
west has occasioned much speculation. A copper coin^ 
bearing Persian characters, has, it is said, been found on 
the banks of the Little Miami river. 

It is weU known, that mankind are naturally itinerant; 
and that they carry with them their goods, especially those 
which are portable, and which they highly value. A piece 
of coin possesses both of these qualities; and it would not 
be more strange to find an Asiatic medal in North 
America, than to find here an Indian of Asiatic origin. 

Our first parents were created in Asia; and the rest of 
mankind descended from them. By emigrations various 
distant portions of the world have been settled. Emi- 
gration was an act of necessity. One quarter of the 
world could not have contained all mankind; and the 
population of Asia became, in time, too great. Asia is at 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 273 

this time supposed to contain five hundred millions of 
people; and in China, such is the excess of population, that 
children are destroyed by their parents, with as little cere- 
mony as though they were the offspring of the most worth- 
less domestic animals. 

It is to be presumed that the Continent of North America 
was peopled from the north-east of Asia. In no other 
way could the Western Continent have, so early, become 
known. The north is not, even now, known beyond the 
latitude of eighty-two; and [169] with respect to it thus far 
there is much doubt. The eastern and western continents 
may be connected near this latitude; and in this direction 
the aborigines of North America may have travelled from 
the former to the latter. Certain it is that the water be- 
tween the north-east of Asia, and the north-west of Amer- 
ica is comparatively shallow. In Bering's Straits, situated 
in the latitude of sixty-six, there are many islands; the 
width of the straits is only about fifty miles, and, in winter, 
the passage across is frozen. 

Even here the eastern and western continents, were per- 
haps, once connected. Such an idea is not inconsistent 
either with the nature of things, or with analogy. The 
earth has experienced, from time to time, great revolutions; 
and Strabo, an ancient and celebrated geographer, speaks 
of the time when the Mediterranean Sea did not exist. 
Why may not the two great continents have been or still 
be united as well as those of Europe and Africa ? There 
is in the north-east of Asia much nxore evidence of its 
former connection with the north-west of America, than 
there is of a similar connection between Europe and Africa, 
inasmuch as the water between the former is unquestion- 
ably shallow; and between the latter it is very deep. 

Besides, what adds great weight to the general supposi- 
tion that the original settlers of the western contment emi- 

274 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

grated from the north-east of Asia is, that in many partic- 
ulars they resemble the inhabitants of the latter. Many 
of the islands of Bering's straits, and also both of its coasts, 
are peopled ; and their occupants are much in the habit of 

The original inhabitants of South America were prob- 
ably, the descendants of the aborigines of North America; 
and emigrated from the latter to the [i 70] former across the 
Isthmus of Darien. Nothing is more natural than for 
people to emigrate from a northern to a southern latitude ; 
and this course was, no doubt, taken, in a greater or less 
degree, by all the original inhabitants of North America. 
All the North American Indians, with whom we are ac- 
quainted, excepting the Esquimeaux, now reside south of 
their supposed track from the eastern to the western conti- 

In South America, as in other warm countries, the modes 
of living become more refined than in climates further 
north; and in the history of the former we see the 
same diversity of character as existed in North America. 
Many of the tribes of the north might have been compared 
with the Peruvians of the south, a mild and inoffensive 
people; and the Iroquois and Puans of the former, with 
the Chilians and Caribs of the latter. 

As to Persian coin being found in North America, 
it is not more surprising than the finding of Roman coin 
in Great Britain. The same effect may arise from differ- 
ent causes. It was probably, not more easy for Julius 
Caesar to invade Britain, than for the Asiatics to emigrate 
to North America. 

In dismissing this subject I may observe, that all the 
accounts from the west are not to be immediately credited. 
Many, to please their fancies, and more, to fill their purses, 
speak hyperbolically respecting it. A great man who 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 275 

prided himself upon his penetration, once being questioned 
as to the causes of some supposed appearance in nature, 
assumed a wise phiz, and deeply reasoned upon the sub- 
ject. Stop, my friend, said the quizzer, had you not 
better first inquire as to the matter of fact ? 

After passing Great Sandy River, which is a boundary 
line between Virginia and Kentucky, I entered this state. 
The general aspect of the country [171] here is nearly level. 
Near the Ohio, however, for fifteen or twenty miles, the 
country is broken, hilly, and even mountainous. In 
clambering some of these mountains I experienced consid- 
erable fatigue. They are so steep, that one can ascend 
them only by taking hold of the bushes on their sides. 

There are in Kentucky scarcely any swamps or very low 
lands. The soil of the levels is rather thin; but on the 
swells and ridges the soil is exceedingly fertile. A bed of 
limestone exists, five or six feet below the surface, through- 
out the principal part of the state. In consequence of this 
circumstance its springs, in a dry season, soon become 
exhausted. This state is inferior to all others, with 
respect to mill privileges, inasmuch as very few of its 
streams stand the usual drought of autumn. 

This state furnishes, in the greatest abundance, all the 
articles which the State of Ohio produces. It raises, be- 
sides the ordinary objects of agriculture, vast quantities 
of hemp, and considerable tobacco. Several millions of 
pounds of maple sugar are made here annually; and the 
woods of this state feed immense droves of swine. The 
rivers abound with fish, and the cane brakes support herds 
of deer. 

In travelling through some of those thickets, I was 
impressed with a high idea of the luxuriance of the 
soil. Indeed, the general aspect of the country here 
evinces great fertility of soil, and mildness of climate. In 

276 ^arly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

this state grow the coffee, papaw, hackberry, and cucum- 
ber tree; also the honey locust, mulberry, and buck eye. 
Many accounts respecting the fruitfulness of Kentucky 
are, no doubt, exaggerated; but it is, in fact, an abundant 
and delightful country. For my own part, however, I pre- 
fer, to its rich levels, the echoing hills of New- Hampshire. 

[172] As this part of the country abounds with interesting 
vegetation, I may here make a reflection or two upon 
botany. How infinite is the vegetable kingdom! and 
how far beyond expression is the variety and beauty of her 
hues ! these tints are heavenly ; and the pencil of nature 
has displayed them to render man heavenly-minded. 
How wonderful too, are the affections and sympathies of 
plants! Here the poet finds an exhaustless source of 
imagery, and here every vicissitude of life may select its 
appropriate emblem. 

The whole of the north-westerly parts of Kentucky is 
bound by the river Ohio. A small part of it lies on the 
Mississippi; and this river, so far, is its western boundary. 
Tennessee lies south of it. The principal rivers in Ken- 
tucky which enter the Ohio are Sandy, Kentucky, Cum- 
berland, and Tennessee. The sources of these rivers are 
very numerous, and in proceeding to the Ohio fertilize a 
vast tract of rich country. The Tennessee passes through 
a small part of Kentucky. The Cumberland runs into 
Tennessee, and then extends through a considerable part 
of Kentucky in an east and west direction. Its principal 
sources are in the Cumberland mountains. This river 
furnishes every material for ship-building; and during the 
rainy season can float vessels of the largest size. Nash- 
ville,"^ in Tennessee, lies up this river; and much business 
is transacted between this place, Pittsburg, and New-Or- 

"' An account of the early history of Nashville is given in A. Michaux's 
Travels, volume iii of our series, note 103. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestnous Tour ijj 

leans. The river is navigable without any obstruction, for 
five hundred miles, and is, at its mouth, about three hun- 
dred yards wide. 

On the banks of Kentucky river are many precipices, 
some of which are three or four hundred feet high. In 
these precipices may be seen much limestone, and some 
fine white marble. This river is about two hundred miles 
in length, and in width [173] two hundred and fifty yards. 
In this state are many celebrated salt-springs. Its iron 
ore is of a very inferior quality; and its caves and other 
natural curiosities are highly interesting. Lexington, the 
capital of Kentucky, is an elegant and polished place."® 

Many of the inhabitants of this state emigrated from 
every part of the United States, and from most of the 
countries of Europe. A great many of them came from 
Virginia; and, unfortunately for our common country, 
they brought with them their slaves. What a source of 
regret is it, that Kentucky did not prohibit, within her 
jurisdiction, the bondage of these friendless beings! A 
sense of propriety, and a regard for the reputation, and 
true interests of the United States, should have taught the 
guardians of her public weal to wash their hands from 
this foul stain. The first settlers of this state found them- 
selves in a land where all was nature, and all was liberty. 
The rivers poured their unrestrained tribute, the winds 
blew where they listed, the earth teamed, the birds flew, 
the fish leaped, the deer bounded over the hills, and the 
savage knew no master. Enviable situation! But the 
scene is marred. There, human beings toil and sweat 
under the lash of a task-master. It is said that slaves are 
treated well! They are, — and till A slave is a slave, in 
spite of all the logic of avarice, indolence, and purse-proud 
humanity. Power creates tyranny; and in the hands of a 

'" For an account of Lexington, see A. Michaux's Travels, note 6i. — Ed. 

278 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

tyrant no man is safe. The sufferings of the slave, even in 
the United States, are sufficient to sink any country into 
perdition. A record of them would make us run mad 
with shame. Ask the mother how she fared, both before 
and after her deliverance. Ask these children of toil what 
it is to die for want of repose ? — What it is to perish under 
the lash ? 

[174] Some of the United States have, in their constitu- 
tions, Jset their faces against this unbecoming, — this odious 
practice. Had the western states followed the example, 
the evil would have been, principally, confined to the 
southern states; and these states, finding that upon their 
shoulders alone rested the terrible responsibility involved 
in the subject, would have applied a remedy. The evil is 
now spreading. In Kentucky, — a garden planted in the 
wilderness, — a land, where liberty dwelt for six thousand 
years, there are herds of slaves. May the states, which 
shall hereafter impress their stars upon the banner of our 
union and our glory, guard against this wretched state of 
things ; and may the slave-holding states, ere long, make a 
noble, generous patriotic, and humane effort, to remove 
from human nature this yoke of bondage, and from their 
country this humiliating stigma! 

The great, but inconsistent Burk, in speaking of the 
southern states says, that the planters there, seeing the 
great difference between themselves and their slaves, ac- 
quire, thereby, the spirit of liberty. For my own part, 
however, I should think this circumstance would create the 
fire of aristocracy, which prides itself in power, and in sub- 

There are many towns in Kentucky, which lie on the 
Ohio, the principal of which is Louisville. This place is 
situated just above the rapids of the Ohio and near Bear 
Grass Creek. Its scite is commanding and pleasant, its 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 279 

aspect spacious, and it contains many large and elegant 
buildings. At this place resides the intrepid Colonel 
Croghan."^ Opposite to Louisville the river Ohio is more 
than a mile in width. Much ship building is carried on 
here; and at this place boats and vessels, going down the 
river, stop for a pilot. Ships of four hundred tons have 
[175] passed down the rapids. The river is, generally, 
in its highest state between February and April. 

Opposite to this place, on the other side of the Ohio, is 
the town of Jeffersonville ; and two miles below, on the 
Kentucky side, is a small place called Shippingport.^^" At 
this place boats, bound down the river, generally land for 
the purpose of leaving the pilot, and of obtaining informa- 
tion as to the markets below. Near the rapids is situated 
Fort Steuben.^" 

The road from Louisville to Shippingport lies on the 
bank of the river, and on the river side of it are groves of 
large sycamore trees. Below the latter place, for fifty 
miles, the river is truly beautiful. In the vicinity of Louis- 
ville are some noble plantations. Some of the planters 

"° On the settlement of Louisville, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of our 
series, note io6. 

The plantation of "Locust Grove" was the estate ofj William Croghan, 
Colonel George Croghan's father. WiUiam Croghan (1752-1822) came to 
America from Ireland when quite young, and embracing the American cause, 
served through the Revolutionary War, being colonel of Neville's Fourth Vir- 
ginia regiment in the battle of Monmouth. He settled at "Locust Grove" 
soon after the Revolution, and became an honored and respected citizen of 
Kentucky. — Ed. 

^^^ For Jeffersonville, see Flint's Letters, volume ix of our series; for 
Shippingsport, see Cuming's Tour, volume iv of our series, note 171. — Ed. 

*^' Fort Steuben (at first called Fort Finney) was a subordinate post erected 
in 1786 upon the grant to the Illinois regiment not far from Clarksville. 
From 1786 to 1790 Colonel John Armstrong was in command. It was aban- 
doned shortly after 1791. This must be distinguished from the fort higher up 
the Ohio, that formed the nucleus of Steubenville. Some remains of the old 
buildings connected with the former fort were to be seen as late as the middle 
of the nineteenth century in Clark County, Indiana. See English, Conquest 
of the Northwest (IndianapoUs, 1896), ii, p 863. — Ed 

280 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

here sow five hundred acres with wheat, set twenty ploughs 
a-going in one field, keep sixty horses, several hundred 
negroes, and carry on distilling, coopering, and other 

A few miles below Cincinnati, on the Kentucky side of 
the river, is situated the plantation of the late General 
Pike.'" It was interesting to see the residence of this 
great man. He was a true patriot; and possessed all the 
hardihood and intrepidity of Charles the twelfth. After 
serving his country for many years, and acquiring her con- 
fidence and love, he nobly died under her triumphant 
banners. Among a free and virtuous people, the fate of 
one brave man kindles the latent spark of patriotism in 
ten thousand hearts, and in his example, they find inspir- 
ing lessons of courage and devotion. 

Limestone is situated on Limestone Creek in Ken- 
tucky.'" This is a pretty considerable place, but the river 
has so far encroached upon the bank upon which it is situ- 
ated, that it, probably, will fall in the course of a few years. 
Indeed I believe, that this will ultimately be the fate of 
many places on the immediate banks of the Ohio. Even 
Marietta, and [176] Cincinnati, are, probably candidates 
for speedy ruin. I should not be surprised to hear that 
the very next freshet had produced such an effect. With 
respect to all these places, the abrasion of the banks is 

"^ Brigadier-general Zebulon Montgomery Pike, born in New Jersey in 
1779, was a lieutenant in the United States army, when, in 1805, he was given 
command of an expedition to trace the Mississippi River to its source. Hav- 
ing made this journey and obtained land from the Indians for a fort at the 
Falls of St. Anthony, he was sent the following year to explore the Arkansas 
and Red rivers. Ascending the Arkansas to the mountains, and discovering 
Pike's Peak, but unable to fmd the source of the Red, he came upon the Rio 
Grande, and there was taken prisoner by the Spanish, and sent to Santa Fe. 
While in command of an expedition against York (Toronto), Canada, in 1813, 
he was accidentally killed by the explosion of a magazine. — Ed. 

'^ For a brief account of Limestone, see A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii 
of our series, note 123. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 281 

constant, and hundreds of buildings are situated near 
their verge. The owners of these buildings have already 
incurred much expense, in endeavouring to secure the 
banks where their individual property stands; but there is 
no union in these efforts, and the means employed are 
totally inefficient. Most of the towns on the Ohio are every 
year partially inundated, in consequence of the astonish- 
ing rise of the river. The banks are frequently overflown 
to the depth of twenty feet. 

Opposite to Cincinnati is Licking River. This river is 
navigable about one hundred and twenty miles. On its 
west bank, near its junction with the Ohio, is the town of 
Coventry; and on the other side is Newport. They are 
both considerable places, and present an elegant appear- 

In travelling through the woods, a few miles from this 
river, I met with several species of birds which I had never 
before seen. Nature's fondness for variety is conspicu- 
ously displayed in all her works; and I am surprised that 
naturalists have not noticed this circumstance, so as to 
furnish, at least a plausible argument, in the disquisitions 
of philosophy concerning the human race. 

At the junction of the Ohio and Cumberland rivers is 
the little town of Smithland.^^^ A more miserable looking 
place exists no where. It contains a few wretched build- 
ings, some of which are occupied for the accommodation 
of boatmen. Here the slaves are more numerous than the 
whites, and many of the former appear far better in point 
of morals and intelligence. 

Before I leave Kentucky, I may touch upon a [177] topic, 
which distinguishes her, and many of the Southern and 

'^* Smithland, the capital of Livingston County, Kentucky, enjoyed con- 
siderable trade with the interior of Tennessee, being a point for the reshipment 
of goods up the Cumberland. Its prosperity was shorthved, however; in 1850 
the population was twelve hundred, and in 1890 five hundred and sixty. — Ed. 

282 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

Western States, from those of New-England. The prac- 
tice which prevails in the former of individuals publicly 
tendering their services to the people, pending elections for 
representatives, may, in the abstract, be productive of some 
evils; but relative to the systems of intrigue, which exist, 
in a greater or less degree, in every state in the Union, it is 
a practice which policy dictates, and patriotism sanctions. 
A large concourse of people, listening to the animated ora- 
tory of rival candidates, may experience some excitement ; 
but is not this a less evil than those which arise from the 
dark and silent operations of abandoned men, who have 
combined for their own exclusive advancement, and for the 
purpose of keeping out of sight those, whose virtues and 
talents, by coming into contact with theirs, would render 
their darkness visible ? 

The safety of our government, rests upon the existence 
of good principles ; and the preservation of these principles 
depends in no small degree upon their being patronized, 
and rewarded. Under such a government as ours, every 
political proceeding should be fair and open. No intrigue 
should be countenanced. The people should be able to 
see every cause and effect of the political machinery. Vir- 
tue, talents, and patriotism, should be encouraged; and 
vice, ignorance, and selfishness, discountenanced. The 
latter should never be suffered to obtain the patronage of 
the people through private intrigue, and the agency of 
petty coalitions. But this will always be the case, where 
political management may be cloaked under the bustle 
of party spirit and mock-patriotism. 

No wise man will, unless prompted by a sense of duty, 
arising from the perils of the times, ever wish [178] for the 
toils, and the responsibilities of office ; or ever expose him- 
self to the caprice of the multitude. But there may be 
seasons when, owing to the corrupt practices incident to 

i8i8] Evans's Pede sir tons Tour 283 

party spirit, the jargon of ignorance, and the pretended 
patriotism of villainy, shall have usurped the management 
of public concerns, and have cypherised the community, it 
would be the indispensable obligation of the true patriot 
to tender his services to his country, to discountenance ex- 
isting systems of political traffic, and thereby to restore to 
the people their consequence, their security, and their rep- 

After being sometime in Kentucky, I crossed the Ohio 
and entered Indiana. 

This state lies on the river Ohio, from the Great Miami 
to the Wabash. On the east is the state of Ohio, on the 
west Illinois; and on the north-west Michigan. The form 
of Indiana is that of an oblong. The sinuosities of the 
Ohio, however, render its boundary here very uneven. The 
length of the state is about 270 miles, and its breadth 130. 

The soil, climate, face of the country, and productions 
of this state resemble those of Ohio. Salt springs, coal 
pits, lime, free stone, and valuable clays of various kinds 
abound in Indiana; and on the Wabash, it is said there is 
a silver mine. 

The salt springs of the west generally produce a bushel 
of salt from about one hundred gallons of the water. 
This water is frequently obtained by boring, from sixty 
to two hundred feet, through solid rock. There is, in the 
west, springs of salt petre; and in Indiana there are very 
valuable salt springs, which belong to the United States, 
and which are profitably managed by the government."^ 

The Prairie in Indiana, called Pilkawa, is a high level 

'^^ These salt springs in the vicinity of Saline Creek, in southeastern Illinois, 
were ceded to the United States (1803) by an Indian treaty negotiated by Gov- 
ernor Harrison at Fort Wayne. For several years they were leased by the gen- 
eral government, but in the Illinois enabling act were granted to that state- 
They were a subject of state litigation for a period of thirty years, the last one 
being sold in 1847. — Ed. 

284 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

ground, seven miles long and three broad. Its [i 79] soil is 
very rich, and upon it there was never known to be a tree. 

Vincennes, the capital of Indiana, lies on the Wabash. ^^' 
Here the commerce of the state principally centres. Goods 
from Canada pass into this state down the Illinois river. 
From New-Orleans they proceed up the Mississippi, Ohio, 
and Wabash; and from the eastern and southern states by 
the way of the Ohio and last mentioned river. 

In this state, on the river Ohio, is the celebrated Swiss 
settlement."' The situation does not present a very fa- 
vorable appearance, and I apprehend that much success is 
not experienced in the making of wine there. It appears 
to me that a more favorable tract for this business might 
be found in Kentucky. The soil of this state is lighter 
and warmer than that of Indiana. 

Near the Swiss settlement I met with many trees and 
bushes quite new to me. The thorn bush here produces 
thorns, which would answer the purpose of nails. They 
are three inches long, and so sharp and hard that they 
can be pressed, with the hand, through an inch board. 
The buck-eye, of which I have spoken, is, probably, the 
horse chesnut of Europe. The magnolia bears blossoms 
very beautiful and fragrant. The coffee tree resembles 
the black oak, and bears a pod enclosing a seed, of which 
a drink is made, not unlike coffee. The papaw resembles 
the locust, or custard apple tree, and bears a pod, contain- 
ing several very rich kernels, of the size and colour of a 

''* For an account of Vincennes, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of our 
series, note 113. — Ed. 

"' With reference to the Swiss settlement at Vevay, see Bradbury's Travels, 
volume V of our series, note 164. — Ed. 

''* The Ohio buckeye or horse-chestnut is the Msculus glabra ; the Ohio 
species is the mountain magnoUa or Magnolia acuminata; the coffee tree (Gym- 
nocladus canadensis) resembles the black oak; the papaw tree is the Asimina 
triloba. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 285 

The principal river in Indiana is the Wabash. The 
banks of this river are high and fertile, and its aspect very 
beautiful. It is navigable, at certain seasons of the year, 
upwards of six hundred miles. White, Theakiki and 
Calumet rivers are its greatest tributaries.*^" 

[180] Just above Vincennes is Fort Knox, and a little 
above the latter are situated the Watenaus.*^" The Poo- 
tewatomies are settled not far from the southerly end of 
Lake Michigan. It may here be observed, that the In- 
dians of North America, especially those who reside within 
the boundaries of the United States, are continually chan- 
ging their place of residence ; that they divide their tribes 
into many small societies, and each of these occupy one 
village. These societies, although of the same tribe, fre- 
quently acquire a new name. Hence arise, in part, the 
almost innumerable number of names, which suggest the 
idea of new tribes. Different names too, are sometimes 
given to the same tribe or society. But the tribes of the 
north and west are still very numerous. It has been sup- 
posed that our government is too desirous of obtaining 
Indian lands upon fair purchase. As to this particular 
I can only say, that many tracts which are sold, are not 
worth a cent to their occupants, in as much as they have 
ceased to be good hunting grounds, and the owners are 
about to abandon them. 

The river Tippecanoe is a branch of the Wabash. It is 

"* The Theakiki is the Kankakee, a tributary of the IlHnois, not of the 
Wabash. Calumet River empties into Lake Michigan and does not connect 
with the Wabash. — Ed. 

'^^ A fort was established by the French at Vincennes early in the eighteenth 
century. Upon passing into the hands of the British, it was renamed Fort 
Sackville. George Rogers Clark marched from Kaskaskia and captured it 
(1779), changing the name to Fort Patrick Henry. In 1787, Major Ham- 
tranck was stationed there with a detachment of infantry, and its name was 
once more changed to Fort Knox, in honor of the first secretary of war. 

For a brief account of the Ouiatanon (Watenans), see Croghan's Jourtials, 
volume i of our series, note 85. — Ed. 

286 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

well known that in 1811 a bloody battle was fought on the 
former, between the Americans and Indians/^^ The his- 
tory of this engagement is very interesting. It is worth 
one's while to recur to it. Our troops, headed by the in- 
trepid Harrison, penetrated through a dreary wilderness 
for the purpose of destroying the Town of the Prophet, 
who, together with Tecumseh, a brother of his, had been 
endeavouring to excite, in several tribes of Indians, hostile 
feelings towards the United States. The troops of Harri- 
son were, during their march, surrounded and menaced 
by many hostile tribes. After arriving at their place of 
destination, they encamped for the night. Just before day 
light the [181] next morning, a furious and determined on- 
set was made by the Indians, and a bloody contest ensued. 
Before our troops could form, there were engagements, 
man to man, in the tents. The tawny Indian and the 
hale soldier grappled for mastery. The march of the 
Americans had been very laborious and fatiguing; and 
both by day and by night the strictest watch, and the ut- 
most readiness for action had been maintained. But flesh 
and blood must have repose. The soldier slept upon his 
arms. He saw the approach of the savage, but awaking, 
found it was a dream. He slept, and dreamed again ; — 
he awoke no more : — some of our troops were found dead, 
and even scalped in their tents. This was a night full of 
horror. It was dark and rainy, and the air was rended 
by savage yells. 

The vigilant Harrison was up, and giving orders, just 

"' The people of Indiana Territory believed the Indian chief Tecumseh 
and his brother, the Prophet, were stirring up a general Indian war; and, 
•wishing to anticipate them, Governor William H. Harrison led an attack on 
the Indian village at the confluence of Tippecanoe Creek and the Wabash 
River, November 7, 181 1. The Indians were driven back and the village 
burned, but Tecumseh continued plotting, and took ample revenge during 
the War of 1812-15. See Pirtle, Battle of Tippecanoe, Filson Club Publica- 
tions, XV. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedesfrious Tour 287 

as the attack commenced. Our officers and men quickly- 
stepped to their posts. In their way they met the savage foe, 
and contended with him in darkness. The General ordered 
aU his fires to be immediately extinguished ; his troops were 
soon formed, and the contest was, for some time, main- 
tained with unabated fury. The result is well known. 

Those of our countrymen, who fell in this engagement, 
deserve our grateful remembrance; and those who sur- 
vived it should be rewarded. 

After the battle the wounded suffered exceedingly. Car- 
ried in waggons over so rough a way, their ligatures were 
loosened, and death daily lightened the load. In this con- 
test the renowned 4th regiment breasted, with an immove- 
able aspect, the fury of the savages; and thereby saved 
from destruction the rest of the troops. Many of the 
militia, thus supported, behaved well; but some of them 
fled, like whipp'd curs, under the baggage waggons. 

[182] Colonel Davies,^^^ who fell upon this sanguinary 
field, possessed a high military genius. His enthusiasm 
was lofty; and had he survived this bloody conflict, the last 
war would, probably, have felt his giant energies. Other 
great souls fell on this trying night ; but my humble records 
cannot do them justice. 

Near the head waters of the Wabash some of the Kick- 
apoos are settled; and here too the Shawanese have some 
of their hunting grounds."^ This last idea suggests the 

"^ Colonel Joseph Daviess was of Scotch-Irish descent, born in Virginia in 
1774. His parents removed to Danville, Kentucky, while Daviess was a lad. 
He studied law with George Nicholas, and became one of the ablest and most 
successful lawyers of the state, serving as United States attorney 1800-07. 
During this period, Daviess brought in an indictment against Aaron Burr (1806) 
which caused great excitement and animosity. He was noted for his eccen- 
tricities as well as his courage, and his death on the Indian battle-field won him 
wide fame. Counties were named for him both in Kentucky and Illinois. — Ed. 

^^ For the Kickapoo and Shawnee Indians, see Croghan's Journals, volume 
i of our series, notes 108, in. — Ed. 

288 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

subject of Zoology. There is no topic in nature more in- 
teresting than this. The great variety of species which 
this genius presents, and the dispositions peculiar to each, 
render this subject an inexhaustible source of instruction 
and entertainment. From the animal world, man may 
derive important lessons in relation to industry, economy 
and perseverance. Indeed, here are displayed all the 
passions and affections incident to human nature ; — all 
that is exalted, and all that is mean : — the generous cour- 
age of the lion, the selfish cunning of the fox, the ferocity 
of the bull dog, and the fawning of the spaniel. Here is a 
fund of simile illustrative of dispositions, manners, and 
morals, which are exceedingly forcible. 

The relations of this subject are too numerous for inci- 
dental remark. Unless the whole of it is embraced, one 
hardly knows where to begin, or where to leave off. That 
part of natural philosophy, which relates to the animal and 
vegetable worlds, have an intimate connexion with moral 
nature. The whole creation presents to the human mind 
the most engaging subjects of contemplation ; — subjects 
which speak to his heart, and eloquently persuade him to 
love and adore his Heavenly Father. The Scriptures de- 
rive from this source moral and religious illustrations, 
which are truly impressive: In the 8oth [183] Psalm the 
Deity speaks of his chosen people under the similitude of 
a vine brought out of Egypt ; and on account of transgres- 
sion, ' ' the boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild 
beast of the field doth devour it." David, in represent- 
ing the happiness, security, and comfort of a christian 
spirit, exclaims, ''the sparrow hath found an house, and 
the swallow a nest for herself; — even thine altars, O 
Lord of hosts!" And in speaking of the universal care 
of Providence, he says, ''He giveth to the beast his food, 
and to the young ravens which cry." Jeremiah too, in 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 289 

censuring the Jews for their insensibility and impenitence, 
declares, ' ' yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her ap- 
pointed times ; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swal- 
low, observe the time of their coming : but my people know 
not the judgment of the Lord. ' ' Lastly, how supremely 
interesting, in view of the innocence of the lamb, is the ex- 
clamation, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away 
the sins of the world ! ' ' The Author of the Scriptures is, 
indeed, the great God of nature ; and in his Word, he has 
employed that wonderful pencil, with which he has gar- 
nished the heavens. 

The opossum of Indiana is said to possess peculiar qual- 
ities. This animal has ever excited the attention of natur- 
alists, by its extraordinary means of cherishing and secur- 
ing its young. Under the belly of the opossum is a bag, 
composed of a thick skin completely lined with soft fur, 
and this skin fully covers the animal's teats. Into this bag 
the young of the opossum lie; and, in a time of danger, 
the parent closes this bag, the young hang upon her teats, 
and in this situation she endeavours to escape from her 

It is well known that the opossum, at its birth, is re- 
markably small; but the account which I received [184] 
from an intelligent farmer of Indiana, in relation to this 
particular, is almost incredible. This account, however, 
seems to be supported, analogically, by the testimony of 
naturalists. The young of the marmose, a species of 
opossum, is, when first born, not larger than a bean. This 
animal has two longitudinal folds of skin, near the thighs, 
in which her young are comfortably kept until they ac- 
quire strength enough to take care of themselves. 

The Indiana planter says, that the young of the real 
opossum has been found, in the bag described, not larger 
than a grain of barley. We may here inquire, in what 

290 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

way the opossum is propagated ? The above account of 
the young of the opossum is not absolutely incredible. 
Nature's modes of production are astonishingly various. 
Aristotle says, that she abhors a vacuum; and certain it is, 
that she dislikes similarity. Some of her animated ex- 
istences she produces through the instrumentality of one 
sex, some of two, some of three, and some without any 
sex. The snail is an hermaphrodite; and some shell-ani- 
mals in the East-Indies require, in order to their produc- 
tion, the union of three individuals. The polypus is very 
prolific, and yet is destitute of sexual distinction. Upon 
its body appear protuberances, similar to buds upon trees, 
and these are the real animal in miniature. Whilst in this 
state, they are nourished, apparently, as buds are nour- 
ished by sap, and when they are capable of taking care of 
themselves, they fall off like ripe fruit. 

Two other peculiarities of the opossum are its dread 
of water, and indifference to fire. It is said that this 
animal, upon being slightly stricken, pretends to be dead ; 
and continues to appear so even when its paws are 
burning off; but when put into water it immediately 
becomes alarmed, and struggles to save itself. Natu- 
ralists say, that this animal subsists, principally, upon 

[185] Leaving the state of Indiana, I passed into the 
Illinois Territory. This territory is generally level, but I 
think it more diversified than Indiana. The Illinois Ter- 
ritory is of immense extent. It is bounded on the east, by 
Lake Michigan and Indiana; on the south, by the Ohio 
river: on the south-west and west, by the Mississippi; on 
the north by Lake Superior; on the north-west by the Lake 
of the Woods ; and west-south-west, by the most northern 
source of the Mississippi. It constitutes the whole of the 
North- West Territory, excepting Ohio, Michigan, and In- 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 291 

diana, and contains about 200,000 square miles, exclusive 
of the waters of Lake Superior and Michigan. 

The meadows on the river Illinois are very extensive. 
The aspect of the river is expansive and gentle ; and at its 
confluence with the Mississippi, it is about four hundred 
yards wide. The other principal rivers in this territory, 
are the Ouisconsin, and Fox rivers. The former runs very 
near Fox river, which enters Lake Winnebago. This 
Lake is the nearest average point of communication be- 
tween the waters of the St. Lawrence, and the Gulf of 
Mexico. On the Illinois river, there is pit coal, salt springs, 
and in other parts of the territory, lead and copper mines. 
Between the rivers Kaskaskias, and Illinois, there is an 
extensive tract of rich land, which terminates in a high 
ridge. In this fertile vale are a number of small French 

There is a communication, between the Illinois river 
and Lake Michigan, by the way of Chicago river, and two 
small portages."^ The Illinois strikes the Mississippi 
about twenty miles above the Missouri, and its principal 
branch runs in the direction of Detroit."' 

The principal towns in the Illinois Territory are Kas- 
kaskia, Cohokia, and Goshen."^ Shawne town [186] lies 
on the Ohio, and is an inconsiderable place."* Here are 

^^* A brief account of the early French settlements in Ilhnois may be found 
in A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii of our series, notes 132-136. — Ed. 

136 Prom the Des Plaines, the nort;hern fork of the Illinois, one portage led 
to the Chicago River, the other to the Calumet, which empties into Lake Michi- 
gan at the present South Chicago. — Ed. 

"" The Kankakee River, called by the French Theakiki. For these early 
routes of water travel, see Wisconsin Historical Collections, xvi, p. 372. — Ed. 

"' The present Madison County in IlHnois was explored about 1799, and 
called Goshen. The village of that name, about five miles southwest of Ed- 
wardsville, was begun in 1800. — Ed. 

"' For the founding of Shawneetown, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of 
our series, note 108. — Ed. 

292 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

several taverns, a bake-house, and a few huts. Some of 
the settlements in Illinois are ancient, and very consider- 

Formerly there were about twenty tribes of Indians in- 
habiting the Illinois Territory; and a large proportion of 
the lands here still belong to them. The Winnebagoes still 
reside on Fox river; the Saukies on the upper part of the 
Ouisconsin; and the Ottiganmies near its mouth."' 

Fort Massac is situated in Illinois, near the mouth of 
the Ohio."" Its site is elevated; but the adjacent country 
is frequently overflown. 

The Illinois Territory possesses a fine climate, a variety 
of rich soils, and many peculiarities, which are calculated 
to render her, at some future period, a very distinguished 

About ten miles beyond Cumberland river, on the Ohio, 
is the river Tennessee. This river finds its most remote 
sources in Virginia, passes through the state of Tennessee 
from east to west, and in its course enters the State of 
Mississippi. This is the largest source of the Ohio. It 
pursues its course about one thousand miles before it en- 
ters the Ohio, and at its junction with it, its width is about 
six hundred yards. It is navigable, for the largest vessels, 
to the Muscle Shoals, a distance of two hundred and fifty 
miles. These shoals are about twenty miles in length; 
but the navigation here may be easily improved."^ 

'^' On these Indian tribes, consult Long's Voyages, volume ii of our series, 
notes 85, 86. — Ed. 

'^'' For the early history of Fort Massac, see A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii 
of our series, note 139. — Ed. 

*** The "Muscle Shoal" Rapids fall within northern Alabama. The im- 
provement of the Tennessee at this point was long under discussion. In 1825 
commissioners were appointed by the governors of Tennessee and Alabama to 
report thereupon; three years later a survey was made by order of the depart- 
ment of war, relative to removing obstructions in the channel. A canal around 
the rapids was begun (1829), but about that time railroads began to absorb the 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 293 

At no far distant period, a considerable part of the pro- 
duce of the Ohio, and its tributaries, will, probably, find 
a market in West-Florida, instead of New Orleans. This 
will be more particularly the case, should Pensacola be- 
come the property of the United States; and of this event 
there can be no doubt. It will soon become ours by pur- 
chase, or by [187] conquest. For an honest purpose Spain, 
or her secret ally, will not wish to own it ; she will, there- 
fore, forfeit it by transgression, or when it shall become 
useless to her in this respect, she will sell it. There can be 
no doubt, that, ere long, East-Florida, and that part of 
West-Florida which belongs to Spain, will become ours."' 

Pensacola, Mobile, and other places on the coast of 
West-Florida will soon become places of immense trade. 
The great cause of the business and wealth of New-Or- 
leans, is the union, which there takes place, between a vast 
inland and foreign commerce. Such a union at Pensacola, 
or Mobile would be much more advantageous. The 
planters on the Ohio and its waters, could carry their 
produce to these markets at much less expense; and the 
shipper could here freight vessels for its exportation at a 
lower rate. 

Boats on the Ohio, instead of passing into the Missis- 
sippi, may ascend the Tennessee as far as the Muscle 
Shoals, or within fifty miles of them, and then entering 
the Tombecbee by a canal, which may easily be made, pass 
down to Mobile. The current of the Tennessee to the 
Muscle Shoals is gentle, and boats may be pushed up the 

attention of the Southern states, and the War of Secession following, it has never 
been completed. The necessary improvements in the river channel have 
finally been made by the United States government. — Ed. 

'** The diplomatic negotiations leading to the purchase of Florida were long 
and involved, and grew out of the attempt to fix the boundary between West 
Florida and the United States. The treaty was signed in 1819, Spain ceding 
East and West Florida and the United States paying five milUon dollars. — Ed. 

294 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

stream without much expense. Coosee river, a branch of 
the Alabama, also approaches very near to the Tennessee ; 
and from the Alabama to the river Perdido, near Pensa- 
cola, the distance is very small. 

If these ideas are correct, the trade of New Orleans, 
both foreign and domestic, will not increase so rapidly as 
might otherwise be expected. It is well known, that the 
expense attending the navigation of vessels up the Missis- 
sippi to New- Orleans, and in passing from thence to the 
mouth of the river, is frequently great. Vessels are some- 
times from thirty to sixty days in ascending this river to 
the city; and in descending it the detention, both on the 
[i88] river and at the pilot-ground, near its entrance 
into the Gulf of Mexico, is often considerable. Besides, the 
danger attending this navigation is far from being small. 

Should the produce of that part of the Western Coun- 
try, which lies on the Ohio, pass into the Tombecbee and 
Alabama rivers. Mobile will rapidly increase; and should 
the United States acquire a right to Pensacola, it will prob- 
ably become, in time, one of the greatest commercial 
places in the world. No maritime city will, in this event, 
possess a back country so extensive, rich, and populous; 
and none more completely combine the energies of inland, 
and foreign commerce. The harbour of Pensacola is one 
of the best in the world. 

Before I leave the Ohio, it may be well for me to intro- 
duce a general idea of the courses of this river. Its minor 
sinuosities are too numerous to mention. From Pitts- 
burg, this river proceeds in a north-west course about 
thirty miles; — west-south-west, five hundred miles; — 
south-west, one hundred and seventy miles; — west, two 
hundred and eighty miles; — south-west, one hundred 
and eighty miles; — and the residue of the distance, west- 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 295 

The Ohio is a wonderful river. Its utility, and beauty 
are highly conspicuous. Its banks, where not cultivated, 
are covered with a thick growth of trees, and bushes, which, 
bending over the water, yield a prospect at once serene and 
rich. Some of the banks, especially on the upper parts of 
the river, are covered with lofty forests of sycamores. 

The fish in this river are of various kinds ; among which 
is the cat-fish, weighing from five to one hundred pounds. 
The fish in the western waters are generally very fat. 

Whilst on the Ohio, and near the mouth of the Cumber- 
land, I witnessed a deer hunt, if it may so [189] be called, 
which excited no little sensibility. Several keels were pass- 
ing silently down the current. It was noon-day, and the 
river was full, expansive, and calm. The men on board 
of the boats espied, a mile ahead, several deer swimming 
across the river. One of the deer had proceeded nearly 
half way across, when the skiffs belonging to two of the 
keels were manned, and went in pursuit of him. Each 
skiff contained two oars-men, and one in the bows with 
a boat hook. The rival skiffs ploughed through the silver 
stream. The deer retreated towards the wood ; but one of 
the boats outsped him. He was now between two enemies. 
The scene was interesting : I almost prayed for his rescue. 
For twenty minutes the fate of this guileless animal was 
doubtful. The calm which prevailed seemed to listen to 
the dashing oar, the successless blow, and the almost 
breathless efforts of the poor deer. At length all was 
silent ; the boats were on their return ; — no deer was seen 
in the river. The tired, yet sprightly oar, told the tale of 
death ; and nature, for a moment, seemed to darken on the 

The deer was a buck, two years old, remarkably large, 
and elegantly proportioned. When I beheld this bleed- 
ing victim, and heard the boatmen's song of triumph, my 

296 Rarly Western Travels [Vol, 8 

heart involuntarily exclaimed, if men must butcher, for 
Heaven's sake, let them not do it in mirth ! 

Viewing the Mississippi from the banks of the Ohio, its 
appearance is narrow, and confined; but it is, generally, 
much wider, and in many places expansive and elegant. 

All the sources of the Mississippi, above the Ohio, are 
not yet known. The Missouri, however, is, no doubt, 
its largest tributary, and perhaps its main branch. 
The principal source of the Mississippi above the Missouri 
appears to proceed from Bear lake. 

[190] The river Missouri is several thousand miles in 
length, and runs in a direction north of west. This part 
of the country has been explored by order of the American 
Government ; but so vast is it, that many years must elapse, 
and much population be introduced into it, before infor- 
mation, to be fully depended upon, can be obtained re- 
specting it. We have, by the efforts of Lewis and Clark, "^ 
and other hardy spirits, obtained some general ideas re- 
specting the vast tract of country, between the mouth of 
the Missouri and the Pacific Ocean, which will assist us 
in making more particular discoveries ; but at present, cau- 
tion should be exercised in relation to every record which 
is made upon this subject. The American people are con- 
siderably interested in it, and, of course, will be disposed 
to believe every assertion in favour of the country. Our 
government, it appears, are preparing for several expedi- 
tions into the interior of the Louisiana purchase. It cer- 
tainly is well to be engaged, during the present season of 

'^ In 1803, President Jefferson secured a small appropriation from Congress, 
which enabled him to carry out a long-cherished plan of sending an exploring 
party across the continent. May 14, 1804, the expedition of Lewis and Clark 
started up the Missouri River, reached the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the 
Columbia, November i, 1805; and returned to St. Louis, September, 1806. 
See Original Journals 0] the Lewis and, Clark Expedition (Thwaites's ed., New 
York, 1904)- — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 297 

tranquillity, in ascertaining our boundaries; in order that 
our resources may be known, and that, having the whole 
state of the nation before us, we may know what policy 
to pursue towards its respective parts, how to guard against 
evils which may be apprehended, and to promote interests 
which may present themselves to our view. 

The principal town in the Missouri Territory is St. 
Louis. This town is very pleasantly situated, about fif- 
teen miles below the river Missouri, and contains two or 
three hundred houses. St. Genevieve is situated about 
seventy miles below St. Louis."* Near this place are inex- 
haustible lead mines. St. Louis is rapidly increasing, and 
is the centre of the fur trade, west of the Mississippi. It 
is probable that the country west of the river Missouri is 
elevated and broken, and contains a great variety of ores. 
It is probably too, a very rich fur country. 

[191] How far the Louisiana purchase will ultimately 
prove beneficial to our country, time alone can determine. 
It was certainly of consequence to us to possess the right 
of deposit at New-Orleans; and this, it is presumed, might 
have been acquired without a purchase of the soil. We 
were rich enough in territory, and in every other physical 
means of rendering ourselves a great and a happy people. 
I am aware, however, that wealth is beneficial, if it does 
not corrupt. In the hands of the virtuous, it is a mean 
of doing good. 

I am also sensible that there was a powerful motive for 
the purchase of the soil, in relation to a change of govern- 
ment in the city of New-Orleans. To this place the peo- 
ple of the west would, as a matter of course, resort for a 
market. In relation to this particular, lies the principal 
motive, and the principal objection with respect to the 

'** For St. Louis, see A. Michaux's Travels, note 138; for Ste. Genevifeve, 
see Cuming's Tour, note 174. — Ed. 

298 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

purchase; and whether it shall prove beneficial or other- 
wise, depends upon ourselves. If the manners of this city 
shall not be improved by our own population, who may 
emigrate thither, where will be the moral advantage of the 
purchase ? Indeed will not our citizens, by its being their 
own territory, more readily imbibe, and more freely com- 
municate the corrupt practices of this place ? But, if by 
the praiseworthy conduct of our citizens residing in New- 
Orleans, immorality shall be checked, and good principles 
introduced, then, indeed, it will prove a purchase, not only 
for our country, but for mankind. Should this be the case, 
those demoralizing efiects, which could not but have been 
apprehended from the intercourse between our citizens and 
the mixed multitudes of Louisiana, will not only be re- 
moved, but in the place of these exotic weeds will flourish 
our own indiginous plants. There were, no doubt, other 
motives for the purchase, but whether they ought [192] to 
have operated under such a political system as ours is 

The United States resemble, in many particulars of their 
history, the Jewish nation; and it is not improper to say 
that we are a peculiar people. We seem to be treading 
in every direction, upon the heels of the savages : they are 
receding, and we are following them. — Happy shall we be 
if we eye the hand which leads us, and the stretched out 
arm which supports us! — happy will it be for us, if instead 
of corrupting those whose places we occupy, we do them 
good, and teach them to be virtuous! 

When we behold the United States every day extending 
their boundaries, and increasing their resources — when 
we see the moral and physical energies of a single constitu- 
ent part of the Union, in possession of more real force than 
many of the states of Europe, we are astonished at our 
own power, and our own responsibility. Millions are yet 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 299 

to be influenced by our example. It is impossible that so 
much power, and so much enterprise should remain inac- 
tive. Our western boundary will, ultimately, be the Pa- 
cific Ocean ; our northern, the North Pole; our southern, the 
Isthmus of Darien; and on the ocean we shall have no 
competitor. May our justice ever direct our power, and 
may we be the patron and protector of oppressed nations. 

Before I proceed from the Ohio towards New-Orleans, 
it may be observed that what is generally understood by 
the Western States and Territories, is all that part of the 
territory of the United States, which lies west of the Alle- 
ghany mountains, and east of the Mississippi river. 

I have expressed a few general ideas upon this vast and 
excellent tract of country. Much more might be ojffered ; 
but it would be both useless, and improper to retail the rec- 
ords of geographers. [193] However few may be my state- 
ments upon this subject, they shall be dictated, exclu- 
sively, by my own observations. 

I may add, that the timber of the west is much more 
various than that of the east, and equally useful. The 
sugar-maple tree is here so numerous, that they would prob- 
ably supply the whole United States with sugar. The 
Spanish oak is peculiar to the west. Here too, are the 
lynn tree, gum tree, sugar tree, iron-wood, aspin, crab- 
apple, bark-spice, leather-wood, &c. &c. The sugar-tree 
produces a sweet pod, like that of a pea, and furnishes very 
nutritious food for swine. 

The weather in the west is milder than on the Atlantic 
coast ; but it is also more changeable. Rheumatism, pleu- 
risies, consumptions, billions complaints, &c. cannot but 
prevail here. The exhalations from the earth, and rivers 
is great, and the general aspect of the people, situated near 
these rivers, is pale, emaciated, and feeble; but in these 
respects the country, in time, will be less disagreeable. 

300 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

The earth here, m summer, is covered with a luxuriance 
of vegetation, which, together with the absence of varied 
scenery, sicken the eye, and heart of the traveller. In 
some places one can, after a shower, almost hear the earth 
teem. The very atmosphere seems fattening to the cattle ; 
and garden weeds grow in great profusion upon the un- 
cultivated grounds. The cane, which grows here, bears a 
wide leaf, like those of herds grass; and for cattle it is pal- 
ateable, and nourishing. The stalk of the cane is used for 
angling poles, and for making chairs, looms, &c. 

I now suppose myself on the banks of the Mississippi. 
The average width of this river is about a mile, and its 
length, from the mouth of the Ohio, is [194] about twelve 
hundred miles. It contains a great many islands, some of 
which are several miles in length, and its course is very 
serpentine. Owing to the soil in its vicinity being aUu- 
vian, it frequently changes its course. Sometimes its tribu- 
taries inundate the whole country on both sides of it. The 
banks of the river are generally a little higher than the ad- 
jacent country; the water, therefore, which rises over them 
never returns, but passes off into the swamps. These 
swamps are very extensive, and being incapable of culti- 
vation, will ever render the climate of this part of the coun- 
try insalubrious. During freshets the water of the Missis- 
sippi breaks through points of land of the width of many 
leagues. By these inundations vast trees are uprooted, 
carried into the main channel of the river, and there lodge. 
In consequence of these circumstances the navigation of 
the river is very dangerous. Hundreds of boats, laden 
with valuable cargoes, are annually wrecked, and destroyed 
here. Here too, sudden squalls, attended with severe 
thunder and lightning, are frequent. Even on the Ohio, 
there is, at times, such an undulation of the water, as to 
render being in a small boat very dangerous. Upon the 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 301 

appearance of squalls on the Mississippi, the boats put 
ashore as soon as possible ; and it is interesting to see them 
moving in with so much labour, bustle, and difficulty. 
There is frequently much danger in landing, and the boats 
in doing so sometimes make a great crash. 

The principal obstructions to the navigation of the Mis- 
sissippi, are sawyers, planters, and snags. The first are 
trees, the tops of which are fixed in the bed of the river 
near a strong current ; which causes them to rise and sink, 
so as to resemble the action of a saw in a mill. These 
make a formidable appearance, and are very dangerous. 
Sometimes [195] the sawyers continue under water for 
fifteen or twenty minutes, and then instantaneously rise 
above the surface, to the distance of eight or ten feet. 
They frequently make their appearance very near the 
bows of the boats, in which case much judgment, and activ- 
ity are necessary to escape the impending destruction. 
Some of the sawyers do not appear above the surface at 
all; and by being concealed, are the more dangerous. 
Planters, are trees likewise lodged in the bed of the river, 
but they are immoveable. These trees, at first, lie hor- 
izontally; but by the force of the current, the end up the 
river is raised, and sometimes presents a sharp point con- 
siderably above the surface of the water. Snags, are trees 
which He upon the shoals of the river; and the branches of 
them extend into the channel. There are several difficult 
passes on the Mississippi, in which these obstructions 
abound. The principal of these passes, are the Devil's 
Race-ground, and Picket-Island passage. 

During the last summer two steam-boats, and many 
boats of other kinds were sunken by planters. Floating 
barrels of flour are often seen in the Mississippi; and hun- 
dreds of barrels of wheat, and hogsheads of tobacco, lie on 
its shores in a state of ruin. 

302 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

The thunder and Hghtning which prevail on this river 
are truly grand ; and the sunken islands here are interest- 
ing. This effect was produced by the earthquakes, which 
were experienced in the west in 1811. The traveller too, 
on the bank of Mississippi, frequently sees huge masses 
of earth fall from them into the bed of the river. These 
masses sometimes constitute an acre, and are covered with 
a heavy growth of trees. The noise, occasioned by the 
falling of the banks, is as loud as distant thunder, [196] 
but far more impressive. It speaks of nature's final grave. 

There are other dangers incident to the navigation of the 
Mississippi. The falling banks frequently crush the boats 
laying along side of them. Boats too, are sometimes 
dashed to pieces upon huge masses of wood, which, hav- 
ing lodged near the shore, continue to accumulate so as 
to produce near them a very rapid current. The fogs, 
which sometimes exist on this river, are so thick that one 
cannot see an object at the distance of fifty feet. The 
whirlpools in the Mississippi appear formidable; but they 
are not sufficiently large to endanger boats of a consider- 
able size. 

The general aspect of the country on both sides of the 
Mississippi, from its junction with the Ohio to the Gulf 
of Mexico, is perfectly level and exceedingly rich. A very 
few situations near the river are higher than the adjacent 
country, and the soil of these eminences is sandy and 
sterile. The timber in this part of the country, is in some 
places very large, but generally it is small, and appar- 
ently young. The soil here is subject to such fre- 
quent revolutions, that sufficient time is not allowed for 
trees to obtain their full growth. The banks of the river 
are not, generally, high enough to warrant settlements 
upon them; consequently almost the whole country, from 
the Ohio to Natches, is a pathless wilderness. This is 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 303 

particularly the case with respect to the western bank of 
the river. Much of the Louisiana purchase is not worth 
a cent. 

Below Natches, there are a great many superb planta- 
tions, and the country is under a high state of cultivation. 
Here, however, the water of the river is confined to its bed 
by a levee, or embankment. 

[197] The cane thickets near the banks of the Mississippi 
are very luxuriant; and the extensive groves of willows 
upon them form an impervious shade, and present a 
gloomy aspect. 

About fifty miles below the mouth of the Ohio, on the 
west bank of the Mississippi, stands New Madrid."' Ow- 
ing to destructive freshets and other causes, it is unflour- 

After leaving this side of the river, I entered Tennessee 
on the east. This state is bounded on the Mississippi, 
from the Iron Banks to one of the Chickasaw Bluffs,"^ a 
distance of about one hundred miles. The length of the 
state is four hundred miles. That part of Tennessee, 
which lies on the Mississippi, is a perfect wilderness, and 
inhabited, principally, by Indians. In and near this part 
of the state reside the Cherokees and Chickasaws. The 
Chickasaws have always been well disposed towards the 
United States, and their physiognomy and general appear- 
ance are much in their favour. The language of this 
tribe, and of the Choctaws is very similar. The Chero- 
kees were once very numerous; but being much disposed 
to war, and frequently contending unsuccessfully with the 
northern Indians, their numbers have become small, and 
their spirits broken. The Chickasaws are likewise the 

'** On the founding of New Madrid, see Cuming's Tour, note 185. — Ed. 

^*' See Cuming's Tour, notes 188, 189, for information regarding these 
bluffs.— Ed. 

304 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

remnant of a great tribe. They originally resided further 
west; and were slaughtered by the Spaniards, towards 
whom they still entertain much hatred.**^ 

The principal rivers which run directly from the state 
of Tennessee into the Mississippi, are the Obian, Forked, 
and Wolf rivers. Just below the latter is Fort Pike."' 
Some parts of Tennessee are so mountainous as to be even 
incapable of cultivation ; but its soil generally is fertile, and 
on the banks of the rivers very rich. Some of its moun- 
tains are stupendous. The state is exceedingly well 
watered; [198] and its principal rivers are the Mississippi, 
Tennessee, Cumberland, Holston, and Clinch. The face 
of the country is uneven, and presents a pleasing variety 
of aspect. Although its eminences are fertile, and its 
levels rich, it contains some barrens, similar to those of the 
Carolinas and Georgia. The productions of this state are 
unlike to those of Ohio; and it also produces large quan- 
tities of cotton, tobacco, and some indigo. It is too, 
well calculated for rice. Its commerce is similar to that 
of Kentucky; but it derives many of its foreign goods 
from Virginia, by the way of Richmond, as well as from 
Philadelphia, and Baltimore, by that of Pittsburg. 

Indigo is raised upon a rich, deep, and mellow soil well 
pulverized. The seed is sown in beds, during the month 
of April. The stalk is cut three times a year, and steeped 
for eight and forty hours. The impregnated liquor is then 
drawn off, and lime water added, to produce a separation 
of the particles of indigo from the aqueous fluid. This 
fluid is then again dravm off, and the indigo spread to dry. 
Afterwards it is pressed into boxes, and whilst soft, cut 

"' An interesting description of these Southern Indian tribes may be found 
in Roosevelt, Winning of the West (New York, 1889), i, pp. 49-69. See also, 
brief notes in our volumes i, pp. 34, 75; iv, p. 287. — Ed. 

"* Fort Pike was maintained for only a few years. The location proving 
undesirable, the troops were removed to Fort Pickering. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 305 

into square pieces. Finally, these pieces are placed in the 
sun, until they become hard, and then are packed for the 

The state of Tennessee is, in many respects, peculiar. 
It will become a great, and a pohshed republic. Its moun- 
tains, rivers, minerals, fossils, botany, zoology, and natural 
curiosities, all promise developments of much interest to 
the philosopher, politician, and man of science. 

In marching through the woods, near the banks of the 
Mississippi, nature presents, to the traveller from the east, 
a novel aspect. In moving hundreds of miles, he does not 
see a single rise of land. His eye is pained by the absence 
of variety; and he feels [199] that he would undergo much 
labour to obtain the prospect of a hill-country. Here too, 
in the spring and summer, he sees nothing around him but 
the most umbrageous growth of trees, bushes, and cane. 
The earth here teems with a sickening luxuriance; and the 
perpetual hum of myriads of musquetoes, and other in- 
sects, renders the rays of the sun doubly oppressive. The 
musquetoes near the Mississippi are very large, and not 
at all ceremonious. When in the woods, my nights were 
rendered completely sleepless by them. 

In bathing in this river, I found the water remarkably 
soft. It is well known that the human body is much less 
buoyant in fresh than in salt water; but the water of the 
Mississippi is conspicuous in this respect : many persons, 
who were good swimmers, have fallen into this river, and 
in a moment were seen no more. After travelling in the 
heated wood, and being much bitten by musquetoes, I 
found bathing in the Mississippi very refreshing. The 
water of this river is always thick, so that a tumbler full of 
it will deposit a sediment of one sixteenth part of the 
whole. It is, however, not very unpalateable, and is, I 
think, not unwholesome. 

3o6 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

The fish in this river are numerous, and large ; but they 
are too fat to be dehcate. Geese, ducks, and swan, are 
also numerous here. The latter are very beautiful. Wild 
ducks, with their broods, are frequently seen moving in 
the coves of the river, and numerous paroquets occupy 
the trees on its banks. 

The swan is well known; but pleasure is derived from 
dwelling upon the beauties of this bird. There is nothing 
very interesting in its colour; but its milk-white feathers, 
connected with its large size, renders this species of bird 
an object of attention even in this respect. The grace of 
its motions, however, [200] is indescribably charming. 
The mild majesty of its appearance, when moving upon 
the calm and glassy bosom of the water, and the wonder- 
ful elegance of the positions and motions of its neck, ex- 
cite admiration. Poets feign, that the swan, in the hour 
of death, beguiles the pains of dissolution with the most 
plaintive notes. It is no doubt true, that her voice, at such 
a season, charms the ear of those who love to feel innocent 
and resigned. The ways of nature are wonderful; and she 
enables man, by her operations, to catch some faint im- 
pression, — to receive some prophetic foretaste of the sub- 
limity of her principles, and the eloquence of her senti- 

The paroquet is smaller, and more beautiful than the 
common parrot. They go in flocks, and their notes are 
rapid, harsh, and incessant. It is remarkable, that this 
bird is subject to a disease resembling apoplexy. 

There is much music near the Mississippi. Amidst the 
silence of the wood, rendered even more impressive by the 
umbrageous aspect of the trees, by the teeming earth, the 
darting serpent, the creeping turtle, and the hum of in- 
numerable insects; — amidst this silence, the bag-pipe, or 
violin, or fife, strikes the ear with an almost celestial sound. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 307 

Sometimes the busy silence of nature is interrupted by the 
fall of a bank of the river; and sometimes the whoop of 
the Indian, hunting in the wood, tells the traveller to tread 
lightly in his path. 

On board of a boat, on the Mississippi, into which I 
stepped for a few hours, there was a lad from the High- 
lands of Scotland. He had with him his bag-pipe, 
trimmed with plaid, and he tuned his instrument to several 
interesting airs, connected with the history of his country. 
During his exhibitions, there was in his countenance some- 
thing singularly wrapt, which, to those acquainted with 
the fortunes, manners, [201] and national characteristics 
of the Scotch, could not fail to produce much effect. 

Whilst in Tennessee I met with a whole tribe of Indians, 
who were about going to war with some tribe situated 
north-west of them. As they were about to cross the 
Mississippi, some persons on board of a descending boat 
whooped at and insulted them. The Indians fired upon 
the boat, but no injury was done. How natural is it to 
man to persecute the unfortunate and weak ! How natural 
is the abuse of power! The Indians are a wronged, and 
an insulted people. Their cruelties, no doubt, surpass de- 
scription. — Their conduct is by no means justifiable; but 
how can we rationally expect from them that human mode 
of warfare, which is the consequence of civilization ? 
Their revenge, is the natural effect of their weakness. 
They improve every opportunity to lessen that power, 
which, they fear, is destined to destroy them. And what 
should they do with prisoners? They have no extraor- 
dinary means of feeding them, and no castles for their 
confinement. Besides, think of the examples which have 
been set them by England, by France, by Spain, and by 
America. Many a harmless, humane, and magnanimous 
Indian, has been murdered, in cold blood, by the sons of 

308 EjUrly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

civilization; and many a charge of robbery and murder, 
committed by white men, has been made against the 
peaceable, and inoffensive children of the forest. But I 
wish to be understood, that I believe the disposition of the 
General Government of the United States towards the 
Indians, to have ever been fair and friendly. 

The boatmen on the western waters are great marks- 
men, and pride themselves in sharp shooting. One morn- 
ing, whilst on the Mississippi, a solitary little duck, prob- 
ably not a fortnight from the shell, passed the bows of the 
boat, on board of which I [202] then was, and the captain 
immediately raised his rifle to blow this little being to 
pieces. How wanton in cruelty is man! The young 
duck, conscious of its danger, plied, with all its might, its 
little feet and wings. I pitied its pert and apprehensive 
spirit, and seizing the captain's gun said, he is yours, — 
I will give you a dollar for him as he is. The captain ac- 
cepted my offer, and the little duck hiding himself under 
the reeds of the shore, we passed on. 

After being sometime in Tennessee, I crossed the river, 
and entered the Missouri Territory. There is no great 
difference between the soil and aspect of the country here, 
and those of the Tennessee side of the Mississippi. In 
the latter, however, there are some rises of land, called 
banks and bluffs, which present a sandy and an unproduc- 
tive appearance. The bluffs are known by the words first, 
second, third, and fourth bluff. The aspect of the sec- 
ond one is interesting, and is evidently one of the ends of 
those mountainous ridges in Tennessee, which, passing 
into South-Carolina and Georgia, terminate in the vast 
savannas of the Alabama and Appalachicola. 

The musquetoes are more troublesome on the Missouri 
than on the Tennessee side of the river. The smoke of 
my fire would hardly keep them at a respectful distance; 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 309 

and the only way to avoid, by night, being completely 
blinded by them, was, to cover my face with small bushes. 
No covering of cloth could resist their stings. 

The river near the lower part of the Missouri Territory 
is very crooked, and the islands numerous. These islands 
are formed by the current, during freshets, cutting through 
the soil and making new channels for itself. The islands 
are covered with trees and bushes, but are low, and fre- 
quently overflown. Near some of these islands I saw 
many pelicans. [203] This bird interested me because it 
is both a scriptural and poetical bird. David said, ''I 
am like a pelican of the wilderness," and the poets of fab- 
ulous times supposed that she nourished her young with 
her own blood. 

The seasons of the greatest rise of the Mississippi are 
early in the spring, and in July. During the latter period 
the crops are on the ground, and of course much damage 
is sustained. But here I may again observe, that the 
country on the Mississippi, for a thousand miles below 
the Ohio, is, with a very few exceptions, a perfect wilder- 
ness; and that much of it will never admit of cultivation. 
The rise of the river, frequently appears to be occasioned 
by some secret causes, operating beneath the surface. 
Indeed it is to be presumed, that many of the sources of 
the river proceed from under the surface of the adjacent 

On the banks of the Mississippi, I frequently passed the 
graves of the boatmen. The rudely sculptured monu- 
ments of their lowly dwelling, prove that there is still 
charity for the dead; and that a fellow-feeling seldom 
leaves, under any circumstance, the human breast."' 

**' In the day of the flatboat, a craft which went down stream and never re- 
turned, it was customary for the boatmen to retiUTi by land. This journey was 
often undertaken at unhealthy seasons of the year, and the death of boatmen 
and raftsmen was common. As the travellers usually carried large sums of 

3 I o Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

Having progressed some way in the Missouri Territory, 
I again crossed the river, and entered the Indian Village 
at one of the Chickasaw Bluffs. The settlement here is 
considerable; and the Chickasaws, being friendly to the 
United States, evince in their appearance, the beneficial 
consequences of a peaceful policy. White men of little 
or no reputation frequently intermarry with this tribe ; and 
the Indians are much pleased with the connexion. On 
this Bluff is situated Fort Pickering.*^" 

The evenings in this part of the country are delightful; 
especially in the woods, far from the haunts of men. The 
aspect of the heavens is here [204] peculiarly serene; and 
the human mind is disposed to dwell upon the power, 
wisdom, and goodness of God; the station of man in the 
scale of being ; his probationary state, with all its relations 
and events; and his hopes of happiness beyond the grave. 

The traveller, in proceeding from a cold to a warm cli- 
mate, is forcibly impressed by a sense of the revolutions of 
the seasons; especially if he commences his tour in the 
midst of winter. Those who are acquainted with astron- 
omy, who know what are the effects of the annual motion 
of the earth; and particularly the beneficial consequences 
of its declination, will, if they have any sense of moral 
power and goodness, unite with Milton in his sublime 
fiction : — 

"Some say He bid his angels turn askanse 
The poles of earth, twice ten degrees and more, 
From the sun's axle; they, with labour, 
Push'd oblique the central globe." 

The remembrance of those aspects in nature, which are 
peculiar to the various seasons of the year, are delightfully 

money, their routes were beset by robbers who could, undoubtedly, have ex- 
plained many a grave on these lonely roads. — Hulbert, Historic Highways of 
America, ix, pp. 125, 126. — Ed. 

150 Pqj. Pqj.^ Pickering, see Cuming's Tour, note 192. — Ed. 

1 8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 311 

painful. There is a religious influence in them; — they 
are connected with the recollection of a thousand events 
which mark the stages of man's pilgrimage through life. — 
The winds of spring; the autunmal evening; the equinoc- 
tial gale; the frozen ground; the January thaw; all elo- 
quently speak of childhood, the vicissitudes of time, and 
of a better world. 

In addition to the difficulties, attending the navigation 
of the Mississippi, already mentioned, there are here many 
bends, points, and sand bars, which cause the current to 
set in a great variety of directions, and render necessary, 
not only constant watchfulness, but much practical 

[205] Whilst in the Missouri Territory, and not far from 
the bank of the river, a bald eagle, perched upon a tall and 
blasted oak, attracted my attention. It was in the fore- 
noon, and he viewed the sun with an unblinking eye. 
Whilst I was admiring the strength of his form, and the 
majesty of his aspect, a wild turkey flew from a neighbour- 
ing tree, and alighted on the ground. The eagle imme- 
diately pounced upon his prey; but ere he could effect his 
object the turkey was shot. I might too, have killed the 
eagle, but admiration and awe prevented me. I felt that 
he was the emblem, and the inspiration of my country; 
and, at that moment, I would not, for ten thousand worlds 
like ours, have cut a feather of his wing. 

There is something wonderfully impressive in the nature 
of this bird ; and it is not surprising that the Romans were 
devoted to it. When quite a lad, I mortally wounded an 
eagle, supposing it to be a hawk. It was a half hour be- 
fore it died, and during this time my heart was filled with 
mingled emotions of regret and awe. I felt as though I 
were witnessing the last moments of some mountain hero, 
who had fallen upon the hills of his fame. This noble 

3 I 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

bird fixed his eyes upon me, and without a single blink 
supported the pangs of death with all the grandeur of for- 
titude. I could not endure his aspect, — I shrunk into my 
own insignificance, and have ever since been sensible of 
my inferiority. 

After remaining a day or two on this side of the river, I 
crossed it and entered the State of Mississippi. This state 
is bounded by this river west ; north by Tennessee ; east 
by Georgia; and south by West-Florida. The principal 
rivers in this state are the Yazoo, Pearl, Big Black, Tom- 
becbee, and Alabama. The grand chain of mountains, 
called the Alleghany, terminates in this state. On the 
[206] Tombecbee is situated Fort Stoddard. *^^ The city of 
Natches is the only considerable settlement in this state. 
The aspect of the country is level, and generally very 
fertile; but some parts of it are sandy and unproductive. 
Its principal products are tobacco, cotton, indigo, and 
rice. Live oak of the best quality abounds here. In 
this state are tribes of the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, 
and Chickasaws. These tribes are acquainted with agri- 
culture, and with some manufactures. The Natches 
Indians, formerly a powerful, and, in many respects, a 
civilized people, were exterminated by the French in 
1730.^" The Creek Indians consist of about twenty 
tribes, who united for the purpose of exterminating the 

'" Fort Stoddard was built in 1799 by Captain Shaumburg, U. S. A., on 
the Mobile River, at the Spanish boundary line provided in the treaty of 1795, 
and was named in honor of the acting secretary of war. It was a port of entry 
until Mobile became part of the United States. — Ed. 

'" For the early history of the city of Natchez, see F. A. Michaux's Travels, 
vol. iii of our series, note 53. 

The Natchez Indians, of Maskoki stock, were first encountered by the French 
near the present city of their name. In 1729 they fell upon the French garri- 
son and massacred them all. The following year the French army took a ter- 
rible revenge, a remnant only of the tribe escaping. For full account, see Gay- 
arrd, History of Louisiana (rev. ed., New Orleans, 1903), i, pp. 396-440. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 313 

Choctaws. The names of these tribes are derived from 
those of several rivers in the states of Georgia and Mis- 
sissippi, and the whole are called Creeks, from the great 
number of streams which pass through these parts of the 
country. They are sagacious, bold, and jealous of their 
rights. General Jackson has made great havoc among 

On the twenty-sixth of May I passed through a little 
settlement called Point Sheco. Vegetation here was, at 
this time, very backward. The inhabitants are princi- 
pally French. The small-pox prevailed among them, 
and they appeared sallow and emaciated. The land 
here is very rich; but indolence characterizes the place. 
The people, however, possess many herds of fine cattle, 
and much poultry. The musquetoes here are literally 
intolerable. My journal says, "they are three times as 
large as Yankee musquetoes; my face, neck, hands, and 
feet are covered with their inflictions, and for several 
nights I have not slept a moment." The people in 
this part of the country always sleep under close curtains, 
called musquetoe bars. 

The Mississippi, a little below this place, is very [207] 
wide and expansive. I have spoken of its islands. There 
are about one hundred and thirty between the mouth of 
the Ohio and New-Orleans. These islands are some- 
times formed by the lodgment of floating trees upon a 
bank in the bed of the river, and by after accumulations 
of the various substances which freshets bring from the 
country above. The river here deposits a sufficient quan- 
tity of floating soil to produce vegetation, and the island 
is soon covered with a thick growth of bushes and trees. 
The current of the Mississippi moves from three to five 
miles an hour, according to the rise and fall of its water. 
I have also spoken of the boats on this river. They are 

3 1 4 Fjarly Western Travels [\' ol. 8 

as various, and their number as great, as on the Ohio. 
The usual passage of barks, and barges, from New- 
Orleans to the mouth of the Cumberland, on the Ohio, is 
ninety days; sometimes, however, they are six months in 
getting up thus far, and sometimes lose all their hands on 
the way, by sickness. These boats generally carry from 
sixty to seventy men each, whose compensation is from 
fifty to eighty dollars a trip. Many old sailors prefer this 
inland navigation to that of the ocean. Here they spend 
their second childhood; and venture only on those little 
seas which met the earliest efforts of their boisterous 
career. The vessels of which I have been speaking, are 
from eighty to one hundred tons burthen. The freight 
from New-Orleans to the Cumberland is about five dol- 
lars a hundred weight. Down the river the price is fifty 
per cent less. 

The cotton-wood tree abounds near the Mississippi, 
and is said to be the New-England poplar; I think, how- 
ever, that this is not the case.^" Here too are bulrushes; 
such, probably, as concealed the child Moses on the Nile. 
There is a very interesting connexion between the scenes 
and productions of [208] nature, and the simple stories of 
inspiration. In view of it the enlightened agriculturalist is 
charmed. The situation of our first parents, the patri- 
archal days, and the history of the Judean Shepherds, 
furnish him, whilst he is tilling his ground and tending 
his flocks, with sources of reflection, which at once delight 
his mind, improve his heart, and prepare him for that 
state of innocence and love, which awaits the good be- 
yond the scenes of time. 

The animal and vegetable worlds furnish an inexhaust- 
ible source of illustration and imagery; and in the scrip- 

"^^ The Cottonwood is a member of the poplar family, the scientific name 
being Populus monilijera. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 315 

tures, they are employed with all the simplicity of truth, 
and the sublimity of inspiration. 

The sight of the bulrushes, connected with several 
other circumstances, forcibly reminded me of the River 
Nile, and the story of that forsaken babe, who, by the 
might of Heaven, conducted Israel from Egypt to the 
Promised Land, in type of that Great Leader, who is now 
calling man from the thraldom of iniquity to the liberty of 
the heavenly Canaan. On the Mississippi there are arks, 
and alligators, which resemble the crocodile; and the gen- 
eral appearance of this river is similar to that of the Nile. 

Not far from the Iron Banks, before mentioned, are 
the Chalk Banks; and a little below the latter is the 
Bayau de She. 

The St. Francis is the principal river in the Missouri 
Territory, excepting the river of this name; and it enters 
the Mississippi just below Tennessee. It is navigable 
about three hundred miles, and at its mouth is two hun- 
dred yards wide. White River runs in the same direc- 
tion, and enters the Mississippi about eighty miles below. 
Its width is about one hundred and fifty yards. 

Whilst in the state of Mississippi, I crossed a high, 
broken, and fertile ground, constituting about two hun- 
dred acres. 

[209] After passing over hundreds of miles of country 
perfectly level, such an appearance was highly gratifying. 
On this rise of ground were a few scattering trees, the 
kinds of some of which I had never before seen. Here 
grew the China tree, of a beautiful appearance, and bear- 
ing fruit of an inviting aspect, but of an unpleasant taste. *^^ 
I stopped a moment to receive instruction — moral 
beauty only can be depended upon. 

*" The China tree {Melia azedarach) is a native of India, and much cul- 
tivated in the Southern states for its shade. — Ed. 

3 1 6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

This situation reminded me of St. Pierre's interesting, 
and affecting story of Paul and Virginia. On one of the 
broken ridges of this rise of ground stood a raven. He 
looked as though he had seen a hundred wmters, and his 
appearance inclined me to believe Hesiod's extravagant 
account of the longevity of this bird. There are many 
interesting ideas in relation to this species of bird : In this 
country they build on high trees; and in Europe in old 
towers. The Romans hold them in high estimation; 
and God employed them to carry food to the Prophet 

After leaving this interesting situation, I passed a place 
called Point Pleasant, where there are a few small dwell- 
ing-houses.^" The country here is perfectly level, and 
the river wide and beautiful. Here I met with many live 
oaks, so valuable for ship timber; but I think that on no 
part of the Mississippi do they so abound as in the State 
of Georgia. This species of tree grows tall and straight, 
and has but a very few branches; these, however, are gen- 
erally large, and well calculated for knees in building. 

Between this situation and the city of Natches is a 
place in the river called the Grand Gulph. Here nature 
presents an aspect, which blends the sublime and beautiful. 
She has here, with a majestic air, given to the river an 
expansive bend; and renders its waters wide, deep, and 
gentle. On one side of it she presents [210] an intermin- 
able lawn, and on the other a broken hill, thickly covered 
with a variety of trees. How great are the privileges of 
man ! How small his merit, and yet, how noble his nature ! 

The expansive calmness of this scene, viewed from the 
hill, suggests to the human heart great and deep things, 
too sublime for human utterance. — Things which point 

'" Point Pleasant, ten miles below New Madrid, must not be confounded 
with the point of that name at the mouth of Great Kanawha River. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 317 

to the future development of mind, to the high destinies 
of virtue, and to the nameless peace of heaven. When on 
this hill it was evening; and the moon, mild in majesty, 
moved in an unclouded course. She seemed to say, in 
the language of Young, ''How great, — if good, is man!" 
Under such circumstances the human mind sensibly feels, 
that every thing, by the sacred and benevolent constitu- 
tion of nature, belongs to the virtuous man. He here 
dwells upon St. Paul's declaration, "All is yours!" and 
fears not "life, or death, or principalities, or powers." 
The good man has, indeed, every thing to excite his hopes; 
and if his mind is enlightened by science, and polished by 
taste, he has every thing to excite his admiration. — Is he 
acquainted with architecture ? — "The heavens declare the 
glory of the Creator, and the firmament showeth his handy 
work." Is he fond of music? — let him listen to that of 
the spheres. Does eloquence charm him ? — he hears the 
voice of God in his own heart, persuading him to be 

The River Arkansas enters the Mississippi from the 
west, about one hundred miles below the St. Francis. 
This river is certainly navigable about five hundred miles, 
and is, probably, from fifteen hundred to two thousand 
miles in length. The country on this river will hereafter 
be known for its productions and trade. "^ 

A little below this river is the Cypress Bend. Here 
grow considerable forests of this interesting [211] tree. 
They are here covered with moss, and suggest the ideas 
of old age and death. The growth of the moss, however, 
is not confined to this species of tree; and it probably is 
created by some peculiar quality in the atmosphere of the 
river. This moss sometimes grows to the length of fifteen 

**• For an exploration of Arkansas River, see Nuttall's Journal, vol. xiii of 
our series. — Ed. 

3 I 8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

feet, but generally is much shorter. It proceeds from 
the bark of the tree, and as to its formation and manner 
of growth, resembles rock-weed on the seashore. Its 
colour is that of the dove. Being fibrous, it is laid in 
water, then dried, threshed, and used as a substitute for 
horse hair in the stuffing of mattresses, &c. It is, when 
well prepared, nearly as valuable as hair, and is exported 
in considerable quantities. The sources of this article on 
the Mississippi are inexhaustible, whole forests are here 
covered with it. 

In this part of the country too, grows the celebrated 
plant called misletoe. It is found on the trunk and 
branches of trees, and may be propagated by rubbing its 
berries against the bark. This is frequently done by the 
thrush, in wiping its bill after feeding upon them. Ancient 
superstition venerated this plant; and it was hung upon 
the neck to prevent the effect of witchcraft. In modern 
times it is considered good for epilepsy and other diseases. 

In several places near the Mississippi there are situa- 
tions where hurricanes have prevailed; and it is interest- 
ing to see the contrast between their desolated path, and 
the smiling aspect of the contiguous country. In some 
places here hundreds of lofty trees have been dashed by 
the hand of violence; and the spectator inspired by the 
view, finds a source of regret in not having actually wit- 
nessed the grandeur of ruin's march. 

Great minds only imitate the grand in nature. She 
never proclaims her works, but leaves them to [212] speak 
for themselves. Sampson possessed a portion of her 
spirit. Upon his journey to Timnath, he slew a lion; but 
passing on, told neither father nor mother of it. 

After having experienced, for several weeks, much 
labour and many privations, I arrived at the city of 
Natches, which is situated on the eastern bank of the 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 319 

Mississippi. In approaching the city, from the banks of 
the river, nothing is seen but a village of ragged buildings 
under the hill, a little back of which the city itself is 
located. This hill is very high, and steep, and its soil is 
sandy. Along the banks of the river, under the hill, the 
boats, both in going up and down, frequently stop, either 
for a market, or information. The number of buildings 
here is about one hundred, and they are principally occu- 
pied for shops and boarding-houses for the boatmen. It 
is perhaps one of the most wretched places in the world. 

The ascent to the city is very steep ; and on each side of 
the road are considerable precipices. The city itself is 
singular in its aspect; being irregular, and having large 
unoccupied grounds in different parts of it. After rising 
the hill, one sees, in front, a wide street leading into the 
country; on the left a spacious grove of trees, back of 
which is a precipice of two hundred feet ; and on the right 
of the grove are the principal streets and buildings. Many 
of the houses and stores are large; but there are not many 
buildings here which can be termed elegant. The court- 
house is inconsiderable, and the theatre is a very ordinary 
building. In the evening the city is remarkably silent. — 
Scarcely a person is to be seen in its streets after dark. 
This place is conspicuous for its hospitality. 

Whilst in this place I was on board a boat, with the 
captain of which I had become acquainted at the [213] 
mouth of the Cumberland. To this gentleman, a foppish 
French barber introduced himself; and played with his 
crew a pretty deep game. The barber was profoundly 
polite, and extremely disinterested. He begged the cap- 
tain to sit down and have his hair cut, saying, that it was 
"all for de pleasure," and that he "no value de money," 
&c. So much apparent good will, although troublesome, 
seemed to deserve condescension; and the captain yielded 

320 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

to the importunity. After the work was accompHshed, 
payment was tendered, and refused; the barber still 
insisting, with a thousand flourishes, that it was "all 
for de pleasure." The barber then turned his attention 
to the boatmen, who all admired his liberality, saying, 
"come sare, me cut your hair bery vel." The boatmen, 
one after another, sat down; the Frenchman all the 
time clipping away as for his life, grinning like a 
monkey, and declaring, with many airs, "me barber de 
Buonaparte !' ' After the barber had effected his object, 
and had rolled up his napkin, he, with much gravity, and 
an altered tone, addressed the boatmen, saying, "yentle- 
men, you be please to pay me." The poor fellows were 
ashamed to acknowledge their mistake, and inquired 
how much it was a piece. The Frenchman replied, with 
a concerned animation, ' ' Oh sare ! only one quarter 
dollar." They produced their money, and the barber, 
well pleased with his success, strutted off. 

In the city of Natches slaves are very numerous. There 
is no branch of trade, in this part of the country, more 
brisk and profitable than that of buying and selling 
negroes. They are a subject of continual speculation, 
and are daily brought, together with other live stock, 
from Kentucky and other places to the Natches and New- 
Orleans market. How deplorable is the condition of our 
country! — [2 14] So many bullocks, so many swine, and 
so many human beings in our market! The latter are 
rated in our prices current. — Enviable distinction ! 

Notwithstanding the difficulties so frequently sug- 
gested, relative to the abolition of slavery within the United 
States, the evil can easily be removed. Let the people 
instruct their representatives in Congress to purchase the 
freedom of every slave in the Union ; and to hold the slaves 
for the discharge of the debt thus incurred : each individual 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrious Tour 321 

of them to receive an unconditional manumission as soon 
as they shall, by their labour, offset the amount paid for 

The law under which the purchase should be made, 
ought to declare the slaves to be free, and as possessing all 
the rights and privileges of the white people of the United 
States; with the declaration, however, that these slaves 
are individually indebted to the government, according to 
the price paid for each. The government would then be 
the guardian of the blacks, for a particular purpose. The 
latter would be free ; they would have no master, and they 
might, under proper regulations, sue for any invasion of 
their rights. The government should, in the supposed 
act, provide for the appointment of agents in all the slave- 
holding states; which agents should contract for the pur- 
chase of the slaves, and for the letting of their services 
for a length of time sufficient to cancel the debt thus in- 

I have no doubt that slave holders would, generally, 
sell their slaves to the United States, for this purpose, 
upon liberal terms. Indeed, I know it to be a fact, that 
some of the planters would deduct, in relation to this 
subject, from 25 to 50 per cent, from the real value of the 
slave. Many of the planters too, would also hire the 
slaves of the government [215] according to the proposed 
plan. Some of the planters prefer hiring to purchasing 
negroes. This preference is grounded upon many con- 

As soon as the slaves, upon the supposed plan, should 
discharge their obligations to the United States, they 
would be as independent as any of her citizens, and would 
let their services upon their own contracts, and according 
to their own calculations. 

Some may object to having so many free blacks in the 

32 2 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

United States; but I think that no danger need be appre- 
hended from them. I am not particularly partial to blacks ; 
but I have a good opinion of their intelligence and disposi- 
tion. Much of their bad conduct arises from their being 
slaves. Were they free, they would be more industrious, 
more honest, and would have no extraordinary grounds for 
irritation and crime. Besides, being free, they would be 
much less numerous in one place. They would spread 
themselves over the country. Some would go to the west 
and east, and become farmers and day labourers; some 
would plough the ocean, and some would emigrate to 
Europe, and perhaps to Africa. Surely, within a terri- 
tory so vast as ours, we need not fear a population so lim- 
ited, even if it were a population hostile to the country 
and to human nature. But the fact is otherwise. They 
would form a highly valuable population. Under proper 
systems of instruction, they would become as virtuous as 
any class of white people in the United States. The free 
blacks in the West Indies, are industrious and peaceable. 
It is the case too, with those in this country; and, as to the 
abstract question, it may be added, that the freed vassals 
of Russia, Denmark, and Sweden are equally inofifensive. 

This subject suggests many ideas in opposition to popu- 
lar objections: but my limits will not permit a particular 
investigation of them. 

[216] Under the system proposed, the United States 
need not incur any expense, or make any pecuniary ad- 
vances. In most cases, those who should sell their slaves 
would hire them of the government, and of course no 
money need be advanced. The expense of transacting 
the business, and also the interest upon any advance of 
cash, might be added to the amount of the purchase. 
The price of the slaves in the United States would not, 
probably, average more than 300 dollars each. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 323 

I know it to be the case, that the slave holders, generally, 
deprecate the practice of buying and selling slaves, and 
they would, no doubt, aid the government in its efiforts to 
enfranchise them. 

Should the government act upon the supposed plan, 
she would greatly increase her reputation and security; 
relieve an unfortunate and oppressed portion of the 
human race, and remove forever this dark stain upon her 
glory. Should she make this uncostly efifort. Freedom 
would call us her own peculiar people, and in some future, 
trying day, might remember and defend us. 

Why do we boast of liberty, when, every day, we violate 
its most sacred principles ? As it is in our power to give 
freedom to the slaves within our jurisdiction, we do, by 
delaying to take this step, sanction and support their 
oppression. Should a slave endeavour to obtain his free- 
dom, which, no doubt, he has a right to do, the law of the 
land, — the whole power of the Union, would enforce his 
obedience, and again rivet his chains. Oh, cruel nation! 
Oh, detestable system! The slave holder cannot, con- 
sistently with the law of the land, take the life of his 
slave; but he may scourge him, overwhelm his heart with 
grief, and by a lingering torture bring him to a premature 
grave. This is frequently the case. Indeed, slaves are 
often killed [217] at once, and that with impunity. How 
is the act to be known, when it is committed on a planta- 

The oppressor is hateful to the eye of Heaven: and 
Heaven's justice may be preparing for us pestilence, 
famine, and subjugation. The wisdom of the world, the 
policy of states, the pride of birth, the love of wealth, the 
calculations of avarice, the luxuries of indolence, and the 
thoughtlessness of inhumanity, may all prate about the in- 
expediency of giving freedom to the slave ; but there is an 

324 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

Almighty arm, and the cause of the oppressed will not 
always be unavenged. 

Whilst in Natches I met with a company of Indians, 
of the Choctaw tribe. Most of them were intoxicated, and 
all highly painted. A few days before my visit to this 
place, an Indian had, in a moment of passion, murdered 
one of the company. The law of the tribe declared the 
act worthy of death; and the criminal was immediately 
called upon to meet his fate. With a fearless and com- 
posed aspect, he marched off, faced his executioners, and 
opened his arms to receive their fire. — In a moment he 
was a dead man. It is a singular fact, that Indians 
when condemned to die for the violation of the laws of 
their tribe, never attempt to escape. — The rules of edu- 
cation are more operative than those of legislatures. 

Before I left Natches, I witnessed an interesting race 
between two Indians. Their speed was very great. 

Having, in the course of my tour, seen hundreds of 
Indians, both of the northern and southern tribes, I was 
able to form an opinion as to their relative aspect. The 
northern Indians are more athletic than the southern. 
They are also more grave, and as to manner resemble the 
Germans. The southern [218] Indians are slender, vol- 
atile, cunning, vindictive, and in their manners resemble 
the Italians. 

In Natches there are a great many Turkey Buzzards; 
and their colour and tameness remind one of Pliny's crows. 
The Buzzard is nearly as large as a small turkey. By 
day these birds fly about the city, occasionally lighting 
upon the houses, and in the yards, like pigeons. Towards 
night they all retire to the highest part of the precipice 
fronting the river, and there remain until the morning. 
Seeing them thus assembled, suggests the idea of Milton's 
conclave in Pandemonium. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 325 

These birds are very useful in warm climates, as they 
devour animals which die and remain upon the surface 
of the ground. In the southern states they are numerous, 
and are protected by law. 

During the last summer, business in Natches was dull. 
But the constant arrival of boats from up and down the 
river, gave an active appearance to the place. The profits 
attending the business of steam boats upon the western 
rivers are almost beyond belief; but the competition aris- 
ing from this circumstance is daily lessening them. The 
steam boats move with so much velocity, even up the river, 
that the expenses of a trip are not great, whilst the freight 
of goods, and the price of passage are very high. 

I think there can be no doubt, that foreign goods will 
for the future, be transported from New- Orleans to the 
settlements above, in steam boats, instead of proceeding 
down the rivers from the east and south. Although the 
western rivers present a dangerous navigation to steam 
boats, yet they may be very profitably employed, even 
after paying a reasonable premium for insurance, and 
reducing the price of freight thirty per cent. 

[219] After remaining at Natches two or three days, I 
progressed towards New-Orleans. About sixty miles be- 
low the former are Loftus' Heights, and just below these, 
stands Fort Adams. ^" Not far from the fort, the country 
becomes in some measure settled; and for about one 
hundred miles above New-Orleans, both banks of the 
river are under a high state of cultivation. The country 
continues thus cultivated for twenty miles below the city. 
The plantations within these limits are superb beyond 
description. Some of them resemble villages. The 
dwelling houses of the planters are not inferior to any in 

*'' For a brief description of Loftus Heights and Fort Adams, see Cuming's 
Tour, volume iv of our series, note 211. — Ed. 

326 'Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

the United States, either with respect to size, architecture, 
or the manner in which they are furnished. The gardens, 
and yards contiguous to them, are formed and decorated 
with much taste. The cotton, sugar, and ware houses 
are very large, and the buildings for the slaves are well 
finished. The latter buildings are, in some cases, forty 
or fifty in number, and each of them will accommodate 
ten or twelve persons. The plantations are very ex- 
tensive, and on some of them there are hundreds of 
negroes. The planters here derive immense profits from 
the cultivation of their estates. The yearly income 
from them is from 20,000 to 30,000 dollars. Their pro- 
duce is sent down to the New-Orleans market, at which 
place prompt payment in specie is immediately realized. 
At Natches and New-Orleans, gold and silver are as 
plenty in the market as any other article. Some of the 
noted plantations above mentioned are those of Balay, 
Arnold, Baronge, and Forteus. 

The plantations on the Mississippi produce vast quan- 
tities of sugar and cotton. The latter article grows in 
pods, upon a stalk ; and the appearance of the latter is not 
much unlike that of the bean. These pods, when ripe, 
open; and the cotton is then [220] gathered from the stalk, 
and separated from the seeds by a machine which will 
clean 1000 pounds in a day. An acre of land will yield 
about 800 pounds. 

Cotton is sewed in drills about eight feet apart. The 
seed is thrown in thick; and after they spring, the stalks 
are thinned so as to make them eighteen inches apart. 
They are then weeded, and the earth taken from the 
upper roots, so as to leave them bare. A few weeks after 
this process, the earth is hoed up to the stalk, and the 
roots covered. Then there is a third hoeing like the sec- 
ond. If the ground is well prepared, and the growth 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 327 

favourable, the rows of cotton, when fully grown, will 
nearly meet each other. 

The sugar cane is a jointed stalk, not unlike that of 
corn; and it grows from three to seven feet in length, and 
from one half inch to an inch in diameter. It is pithy, like 
the com stalk, and affords a copious supply of juice. No 
sweet is less cloying, and no vegetable substance so nutri- 
tious as the sugar cane. 

Sugar is cultivated by cuttings, set two inches from 
each other, in drills eight feet apart. Each cutting 
possesses one joint ; and one setting answers for two years. 
In getting in the harvest the first year, the stalks are cut 
within about eight inches of the ground. In the produc- 
tion of sugar, the stalks are passed end ways through 
smooth brass nuts, and the juice thus extracted is boiled 
down to a thick syrup. It is then put into other vessels, 
and as it becomes cool, it forms into small grains, and 
thus becomes sugar. Molasses^ is produced from the 
drainings of the sugar; and after this process there is 
another by distillation; and here rum is obtained. The 
sugar and molasses of New- Orleans are celebrated for 
their excellence. 

[221] Most of the planters on the lower parts of the 
Mississippi are French; and there are in New-Orleans, 
and on other parts of the river many French people, who 
have, since the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty, emi- 
grated thither from France. Many of them are very 
interesting characters. 

Before reaching Natches, I had travelled considerably 
in the state of Louisiana, on the west side of the river; 
but there is nothing here to distinguish it from the lower 
part of the Missouri Territory. 

The old line of demarcation, between the United States 
and Florida, is about sixty miles below Natches. At 

328 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

Point Coupe on the right side of the river, there are many 
elegant dwelling-houses, and they are superbly fur- 
nished.^** At the front and back of the houses, there are 
piazzas, and the doors and windows extend to the floor. 
In summer the former are removed, and their place sup- 
plied with duck, which excludes the sun, and, by its 
motion, creates air. In the front yards are many orna- 
mental trees, and the yards back of the houses are filled 
with a great variety of domestic fowls. Here one almost 
supposes himself in the West-Indies. 

When I arrived at this village, the weather and prospects 
were delightful. A tree in blossom there presented col- 
ours, the powers of which seen at a distance, are indescrib- 
able. These colours wore an astonishing combination of 
crimson and pink ; and viewed through the medium of the 
sun's reflection, appeared celestial. How great and 
various are the powers of the human eye, when aided by 
fancy ! The blossoms of Point Coupe spake of the bright 
colours of heaven, and the livery of angels. 

Opposite this settlement is Bayou Sara; and here there 
are a few buildings. 

Not far from these situations there is another settle- 
ment; but it is not so large as Point Coupe. [222] When 
I passed through it the weather was mild, and the sun 
about setting. Large herds of cattle were feeding luxuri- 
antly upon the banks of the river; the negroes had finished 
their work, and some of them were wrestling on the green, 
some fishing near the shore, some swimming in the stream, 
and some running their horses. The scene was interesting. 

Above Point Coupe, and near a little village, called 
Tunica, is Red River. This river enters the Mississippi 
from the west, and is navigable to a great distance. About 
one hundred and fifty mUes from its mouth, is Nachito- 

"* On Point Coupee, see Cuming's Tour, note 220. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 329 

ches. Black river enters the Red river about fifty miles 
from the junction of the latter with the Mississippi. 
Red river is becoming of considerable note, and will, in 
time, furnish much produce for the New- Orleans market. 
A little below this river, is the Bayou Chafalia. 

On the east of the Mississippi, and not far below the 
old line of demarcation, is Baton Rouge. About the same 
distance above this line is Clarkeville. Baton Rouge is 
a very considerable place. The plantations near this situ- 
ation are superb indeed. The buildings upon them evince 
great wealth, and refinement in modes of living. Ships of 
500 tons sometimes ascend the river to the vicinity of 
Baton Rouge, and receive from the plantations, cargoes 
of sugar and cotton. *^^ The enclosed fields of the planters 
are very spacious, and highly cultivated. The negroes 
upon these plantations are numerous; and vast herds of 
cattle feed upon the banks of the river. The cattle are 
large and beautiful. The horses are fleet, and well cal- 
culated for labour; but they are small, and far from being 

The river below Baton Rouge is very spacious. Here, 
towards evening, the piazzas and porticos of the dwelling- 
houses are filled with ladies. Their [223] appearance, 
together with the expansive and serene aspect of the river, 
the mild azure of the heavens, the silver moon, rising in 
the majesty of meekness, and the almost celestial music, 
which proceeds from the gently gliding boats, remind 
one of primeval innocence, and point the heart to that 
Being, in whose smile is everlasting life. 

In this part of the country there are many Bayous, 
which I have not mentioned. The principal of them are 
Manchac, Plaquemine, and De la Fourche. There are 
here also many churches, some of which are Contrelle, 

"' For an account of Baton Rouge, consult Cuming's Tour note 215. — Ed 

3 30 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

Bona Cara, and Red Church. In the morning and even- 
ing, cavalcades of gentlemen and ladies, may frequently 
be seen going thither, to attend marriage and other cere- 

About seventy miles below Baton Rouge, the country is 
wonderfully fine. No description of mine can do justice 
to the appearance of its principal establishments. There 
are here the most superb dwelling houses. They are sec- 
ond to none in size, architecture, or decorations. The 
gardens attached to them are spacious, and elegantly 
ornamented with orange and fig trees. At a little distance 
from them are vast buildings, occupied for sugar mills and 
cotton presses, and for the storage of the immense pro- 
ductions of the plantations. Near these, are from fifty to 
one hundred neat buildings, for the negroes, beyond them 
are spacious and elegant oblong fields, constituting one 
hundred acres, and under the highest state of cultivation. 

In many places, along the banks of the river are large 
orange groves, and here almost all kinds of fruits are 
raised for the New-Orleans market. My journal says, 
this is, indeed, a fascinating country! Here are all the 
splendours of wealth, and the blandishments [224] of 
beauty: but to the rocky land of my birth, my heart will 
ever be supremely attached. 

Upon the banks of the Mississippi, there is a luxuriant 
growth of white clover, which feeds thousands of cattle. 
These cattle drink from the river. Some of the planters 
yearly mark thousands of calves, and send them into the 
prairies to feed. Here their maintenance costs nothing. 

The cattle of this part of the country are not often fat. 
This circumstance is, probably, owing to many causes; 
some of which are, their being much troubled by flies, not 
being salted, and the food which they eat being of rapid 
growth, and of course unsubstantial. The latter does not 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 331 

possess the consistency of the New-England grass. The 
flies and musquetos on the Mississippi are so numerous 
and voracious, that nothing is more common here than to 
see horses tied in the fields to feed, and a small fire by 
them for the purpose of keeping at a distance these trou- 
blesome assailants. 

The cattle in this part of the country are not worth, in 
the market, more than one fourth of the price of New- 
England cattle. The cows seldom calve more than once 
in two years, and they give very little milk. The milk of 
a Yankee cow will make more butter than that of ten of 

In progressing towards the tropics, appearances peculiar 
to the various degrees of climate were continually pre- 
senting themselves. Many kinds of trees, flowers, and 
grasses, and many species of birds and quadrupeds, en- 
tirely new to me, made their appearance. The rains, 
winds, thunder and lightning too, of the country, towards 
the equator, are peculiar. The latter are here more sud- 
den, loud, and vivid than those of the north. The rains 
near the Mississippi resemble, in a measure, those of the 
West-Indies. Here it frequently rains violently at a lit- 
tle [225] distance, whilst where one stands there is a clear 
sun-shine. These showers sound quite loud, and present 
an interesting appearance. 

I have repeatedly spoken of the slaves in the south and 
west. Some of them are treated kindly; but some suffer 
all the evils incident to this wretched condition. All the 
pride, all the ill-nature, all the petulance of man are fre- 
quently wreaked upon these friendless beings. I speak 
from experience. For a venial fault, I have witnessed 
cruel inflictions. Whilst passing a plantation on the 
lower part of the Mississippi, my ears were assailed by 
sounds novel and distressing. The shriek of anguish, and 

332 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

the sound of the hateful lash quickly brought me to the 
theatre of suffering. There I witnessed a madning sight. 
A poor negro, fastened to the ground, in vain implored 
for mercy; whilst an iron-hearted overseer, enraged by his 
own cruelty, was inflicting unlimited vengeance. I believe 
my presence unbound the victim. — Shame frequently 
achieves what conscience cannot accomplish. I could 
mention cruelties inflicted upon slaves, which would ex- 
cite the tears of humanity, the blush of virtue, and the 
indignation of freedom. On the Mississippi there are 
large oak frames for whipping slaves, — without law, and 
without any rule, excepting that of self-will and uncon- 
trolled power. 

Man, when uncontrolled, is a tyrant; and no human 
being should, for a moment, be without the protection of 
natural, or municipal law. 

There are prejudices against the race of blacks, and I 
pronounce them vulgar ! Some even pretend that negroes 
are not human beings; but history and daily observation 
prove the contrary. Oh! how detestable are the preju- 
dices of avarice and inhumanity. Our vanity teaches us 
to think better of our own colour than of theirs. They 
entertain the [226] same opinion of white, which we do of 
black. On the coast of Africa the Evil Spirit, which we 
call Devil, is there imagined under the hideous semblance 
of a white man. 

Many too, speak against the disposition of Negroes. 
They no doubt possess strong passions; but their passions 
may all be enlisted on the side of virtue. The quickness 
and strength of their feelings, connected with their intel- 
ligence, prove their greatness. It is evident that negroes 
are capable of being rendered great philosophers, divines, 
physicians, legislators and warriors. They are likewise 
capable of being, in their principles and conduct, real gen- 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 333 

tlemen; and as to fidelity and affection, they are second to 
no people on the face of the earth. Some will sneer at 
these ideas; but I rejoice in defending this despised and 
oppressed race of men; and, would to heaven that my 
power was equal to my regard for them! In the course 
of the last war there was as much courage and patriotism 
evinced by a negro, as by any individual in the nation. 
During a naval engagement he was dreadfully mangled 
by a cannon ball; and just as his soul was departing, he 
exclaimed, ^^no haul a colour downP' 

The slaves are accused of committing crimes; but are 
not white men sometimes criminal ? and, I would ask, are 
they not as frequently so? Besides, what can be ex- 
pected of slaves ? Why do we not give them their liberty, 
and admit them to the privileges of citizenship ? We are 
men of like passions; yet does God grind down and oppress 
us ? — No, but has enabled us to preserve our liberty, and 
sends his Holy Spirit to regenerate and redeem us. Oh ! 
what a requital of his goodness do we display in the thral- 
dom of our brethren. Among slaves, nature, in her own 
defence sometimes lifts the arm of death. Can she bear 
every thing? Oppressed, and scourged, and [227] with- 
out refuge, self protection is her only law; and God, under 
such circumstances, justifies homicide. The brethren of 
Moses were enslaved; and seeing an Egyptian smite a 
Hebrew, he slew him. Has a slave a right to his liberty ? 
Certainly. Then no one has a right to deprive him of it; 
and in attempting to do so, the assailant must abide by 
the consequences. Will the laws of this country con- 
demn the slave to die in this case? If so my country 
sanctions murder as well as robbery. What should we 
think of a christian system which should warrant slavery, 
or even be silent respecting it ? Stand forth ye ministers 
of our holy religion, ye vicegerents of a righteous God, 

334 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

and speak the truth in behalf of the slave. Why should 
our pulpits be silent upon this great subject? Why do 
not our christian preachers constantly pray as David did, 
*' break thou the arm of the oppressor." Why do they 
not inquire with the voice of authority, and in the Al- 
mighty's name, "what mean ye, that ye beat my people 
to pieces, saith the Lord God of Hosts. ' ' 

I am disposed to offer a few ideas upon the origin of the 
race of blacks. Their colour is generally supposed to 
arise from climate; but the idea is not well supported. 
Some too, imagine that their colour is a peculiar mark 
which the Creator put upon them for some special pur- 
pose; but these suggestions are chimerical. The specu- 
lations upon this topic have ever been very numerous: for 
my own part, however, I think there is no difficulty in- 
volved in the subject. Where an effect cannot be satis- 
factorily accounted for but upon one principle; and this 
principle is conclusive in point of analogy, we need not 
look any further. 

Now, certain it is that Nature, in all her works, evinces 
a great fondness for variety, both in relation to colour and 
form. Man, as to his physical nature, [228] is an animal; 
and black and white in men, are as easily accounted for 
as black and white among beasts and birds, or any other 
part of animated nature. There is no species of animal, 
among which a greater variety of form and of simple 
colours exist, than among men. Here we see every shade 
of complexion, from jet black to the clearest white; here 
too, we find every variety of feature. Why should there 
not be the same variety among men as among mere ani- 
mals ? We see this variety in every particular, and yet as 
to black we doubt the universality of the principle. Why 
do we not inquire as to the cause of the colour of the 
black horse ? Why do we not ask, whether his remote 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 335 

ancestors were not born in the Torrid Zone ? Besides, 
the variety of which I speak exists in the vegetable world ; 
and in order to remove the principle upon which the 
argument is predicated, the most conspicuous attribute of 
nature must be disproved. 

Some learned writers have supposed the negro race to 
be the descendants of Cain, and that their colour is the 
mark which the Deity set upon their great progenitor, on 
account of the murder of his brother Abel. Others 
imagine that the negroes have proceeded from the loins 
of Ham; and that he was rendered black by the hard 
cursing of his father Noah. As to Noah's curse produ- 
cing this effect, if such a notion deserves any thing but 
ridicule, it may be observed, that the descendants of Ham 
occupied Africa; and that here the inhabitants are not all 
black. In that part of Asia too, where it is supposed the 
descendants of Seth, a favourite son, reside, the people are 
full as black as any of the negroes of Africa. 

The heat of the climate cannot be the cause of black- 
ness in negroes; for a great part of the continent of Amer- 
ica lies within the Torrid Zone, and [229] yet there were 
no black people here until Europeans transported them 
thither from Africa. 

Climate, education, modes of living, customs and man- 
ners, do, no doubt, affect the form, aspect, and features 
of individuals; but all these causes are not sufi5cient to 
produce a total change in complexion or any other par- 

About the middle of June I arrived at New-Orleans. 
The general aspect of the city, viewed at a little distance 
from it, is much in its favour. It appears large, ancient, 
and populous. I entered the city at noon day. Its 
streets were crowded with people of every description. 
Perhaps no place in the world, excepting Vienna, con- 

336 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

tains a greater variety of the human race than New-Or- 
leans. Besides foreigners of all nations, there are here a 
various population peculiarly its own. These are of every 
shade of complexion. Here may be seen in the same 
crowd Creoles, Quadroons, mulattoes. Samboes, Mus- 
tizos, Indians, and Negroes; and there are other commix- 
tures which are not yet classified. As to negroes, I may 
add that whilst in this place I saw one who was perfectly 
white. This peculiarity, however, is rarely witnessed in 
this country. 

Dissipation in New-Orleans is unlimited. Here men 
may be vicious without incurring the ill opinion of those 
around them : — for all go one way. Here broad indeed 
is the road to ruin; and an insulated spectator, sees the 
multitude passing down the stream of pleasure to the 
gulf of remorse. Surrounded by the facinations of wealth, 
the blandishments of beauty, and the bewitching in- 
fluences of music, they do not realize that they are losing 
the dignity of their nature, and preparmg for themselves 
the most bitter self-reproach : — they do not realize that an 
eternity cannot undo an ignoble deed. 

"Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows; 
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm, 
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes, — 
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm ! 
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway, 
Which, hush'd in grim repose, expects his ev'ning prey." 

The gambling houses in this city are almost innumer- 
able, and at any hour, either by night or day, the bustle 
of these demoralizing establishments may be heard. Here 
too, the Sabbath is devoted to recreation. On this day 
the negroes assemble, and amuse themselves and specta- 
tors by dancing. Religion, in behalf of the slave, has 
thus benevolently wrested one day in seven from hard- 
hearted avarice. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 337 

I am happy in being able to say, that New-Orleans is 
much less corrupt, in many particulars, than it used to be. 
The American population there is rapidly increasing; and 
New-England customs, manners and habits, are there 
gaining ground. This population will, no doubt, be con- 
taminated; but it is sincerely hoped that there will be a 
balance in favour of morality. The police of this place 
is stUl in the hands of the French. 

The city of New-Orleans is situated on the east bank 
of the Mississippi, about eighty-five miles from the Gulf 
of Mexico. The city stands immediately upon the bank, 
and upon a curve or bend in the river. The land here, like 
the whole country below Natches, and indeed generally 
below the mouth of the Ohio, is low and level. The water 
is kept from flowing into the city by a Levee or embank- 
ment, which was raised by the Spanish government. The 
Levee extends from Fort Plaquemine, about forty miles 
below the city, to one hundred and twenty miles above it. 
This embankment is about four feet high and fifteen feet 
wide. A great deal [231] has been said respecting this 
road ; but it is not deserving of much notice. The under- 
taking was not great, and its execution displays no 
ingenuity or neatness. All the market-people bring their 
produce upon the Levee; and here the inhabitants of 
the place take their evening walk. 

The city extends, on the river, about a mile and a 
quarter; and its breadth is about a half mile. The streets 
cross each other at right angles, and the side walks of 
some of them are paved with fiat stones or bricks. Most 
of the streets are narrow. On the river side of the city 
the buildings are large, and many of them are built of 
brick and covered with slate or plaster; but those on the 
back of the place are very small, and consist of wood. 
The former are compact, and the latter scattered. From 

338 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

the Levee to the buildings fronting the river the distance 
is about seven rods. At the upper part of the city, near 
the river, is the Custom-House ; and at the lower part of it 
is the Fort and Cantonment. Not far from these is a spa- 
cious establishment, which is occupied by an association of 
Nuns. The Cathedral stands near the centre of the town. 

The streets near the Levee are generally crowded with 
thousands of women, who are employed in vending fruits 
and goods. There is in this city much female beauty: — 
fine features, symmetry of form, and elegance of man- 
ners; but the virtuous man often perceives in these the 
fatal testimony of moral aberration. Here the fascina- 
tions of accomplished dissipation move in the guise of 
delicacy, and captivate the youthful heart; but the mor- 
alist views their momentary and belittling influence, with 
the indifference, — not of pride, but of reason, religion, and 
sentiment. Youths of my country, to conquer ourselves 
is victory indeed ! — to foil temptation in the doubtful 
field, is imperishable renown ! 

[232] New-Orleans is situated on the island of Orleans. 
This island is formed by the Mississippi, the Lakes Pon- 
chartrain and Maurepas, and the river Ibberville. The 
latter river is an outlet of the Mississippi fifteen or eigh- 
teen miles below Baton Rouge. Lake Ponchartrain is 
about thirty miles long, and nearly the same distance in 
breadth. Its depth is ten or fifteen feet. Lake Maurepas 
is about ten miles long, and seven or eight broad. 

It may here be observed that the Louisiana purchase 
was made in 1803. This territory is of immense extent; 
but its boundaries are doubtful. It would be well for 
the government to satisfy themselves upon the subject, 
and to run their lines, and establish their forts without 
delay. Seasons of public tranquillity are the seasons for 
such business. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 339 

The city of New-Orleans is a place of immense business. 
In the course of fifty years it will probably be, in a mer- 
cantile point of view, second to none in the world. At 
this place inland and maritime commerce combine their 
energies. An immense tract of the most productive coun- 
try in the world, is continually sending its produce, 
through a thousand channels, to this great mart. Al- 
ready five or six hundred vessels, some of which are very 
large, may occasionally be seen lying at the Levee; and 
upon this embankment are vast piles of produce of every 
description. Foreign vessels frequently arrive here with 
from 500,000 to 1,000,000 dollars in specie, for the pur- 
pose of purchasing cargoes of sugar, cotton, and tobacco. 
Perhaps in no place is specie more plenty, or more free 
in its circulation than at New-Orleans. The banks here 
sometimes refuse to receive it as a deposit. From the 
future imports into this city, and the shipping employed 
here, the General Government will derive an immense 
revenue. The country above is more and [233] more 
supplied with foreign goods from New-Orleans, by steam 
boats and other vessels, instead of receiving them, as for- 
merly, from Baltimore and Philadelphia, by the way of 
Pittsburg; and from Richmond by the rivers Cumberland 
and Tennessee. 

Vast quantities of provisions of every kind, proceed 
from the Ohio, the Mississippi, and their tributaries, for 
the consumption of the people of New-Orleans, for ship 
stores, and for foreign markets. The immense value and 
rapid rise of real estate in this place, proves the flourish- 
ing condition of its trade. A small lot of land there is al- 
most a fortune; and a large buUding lets for 3000 dollars 
per year, — an interest upon 50,000. Within twelve 
months, real estate there has risen from fifty to seventy- 
five per cent. 

34° Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

New-Orleans is, no doubt, an unhealthy place; but I 
believe it is much less so than is generally supposed. 
Much might be done to improve it in this respect. When 
the municipal concerns of this city shall be directed by 
Americans, which will probably be very soon, the place 
will become less unheaHhy and less dissipated than it is. 
In this case, people who now go thither merely for the 
purposes of trade, will permanently reside there, and will, 
of course, be more interested in the destinies of the place. 
The police of the city is, at present, quite inefhcient. 
Murders here are frequent, and sometimes not enquired 
into; and the streets are suffered to be very dirty. It may 
be observed too, that but little respect is paid to the dead 
at New-Orleans. The burying-ground lies in the heart 
of the city, is in an exposed situation, and the surface of it 
is covered with human bones. People here generally go 
armed, particularly the Spaniards, French, and Portu- 
guese. Owing to the unhealthiness of this place, its prin- 
cipal characters spend the summer months at [234] the 
Eastward, and in some cases at the Bay of St. Louis, 
situated about fifty miles from the city."" This is said 
to be a healthy situation. The American population at 
New-Orleans are hospitable. 

The orange groves, and the Levee, at and near this 
place, and which travellers have glowingly described, by 
no means equal their representations. Of the latter I 
have already spoken, and as to the former they are small 
and unflourishing. 

The market, at New-Orleans, is very long and spacious. 
Near this place are a great many poultry-boats, which are 
employed in bringing poultry from the plantations in the 

"" St. Louis Bay at the outlet of Lake Borgne on Mississippi Sound, was 
explored by Iberville in 1699 and named after Louis IX, the saintly king of 
France. On it was located one of the early French colonies. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 341 

vicinity. The beef in the market is very inferior. Owing 
to the climate, or bad management, the cattle, although 
large and elegant, are poor. All the wealth of New-Or- 
leans could not purchase there a piece of any kind of flesh 
equal to what is every day seen in the New-England mar- 
kets. Vegetables are plenty at New-Orleans, but provi- 
sions of every kind are here very high. Turkies are from 
four to six dollars apiece, fowls one dollar each, beef about 
twenty cents, and butter seventy-five cents per pound. 
The best boarding here is eighty dollars per month. Some 
of the hotels are superb establishments. Money is here 
easily obtained and expended; its circulation is free. 
Wages are here very high, and labourers in great demand. 
Indolence characterizes a portion of the people. There 
are two theatres and a circus at New-Orleans. The prin- 
cipal season for amusement is the winter. In the summer, 
a very considerable proportion of the population leave the 
city, and during this period but little business, compara- 
tively, is done. 

I have mentioned the Nunnery at New-Orleans."* In 
entering some of the apartments of this interesting seclu- 
sion, I was much less disposed to censure than to venerate 
the motives of its inmates. Man [235] is a religious being: 
and he often realizes that this world is not his home. 
This is particularly the case in seasons of affliction. Here 
the human mind, sensible of its unworthiness, and of its 
dependence upon God, seeks the favour of that Being, who 
only can forgive and render happy. When the affections 
of man are weaned from the world, he sighs for the 
purity and peace of heaven. Human society no longer 
interests him. He wishes well to mankind; but prefers 
to their society, the seclusions of meditation. Some- 

'" On the Ursuline convent at New Orleans, see Ciuning's Tour, volume iv 
of our series, note 225. — Ed. 

342 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

times this is the immediate efifect of the spirit of re- 
generation; and sometimes it proceeds from the loss of 
some earthly friend, upon whom the heart continually- 
dwelt ; and in whom it might be said to move and have its 
being : — some friend, the remembrance of whose lovely 
life, — whose almost superhuman aspect, manner, and con- 
verse, alienates the affections from earth, and points them, 
with a pure and tranquil spirit, to an anticipated reunion 
in a better world. 

Under such circumstances have females, of the most 
enlightened minds, and purest hearts, received the veil. 

There is, probably, in New-Orleans and its vicinity, a 
population of about 40,000. About a third part of these 
may be presumed to be slaves. The French here are 
more numerous than any other distinct class. Among 
them are many persons, who have lately emigrated from 
France. Some of these persons are gentlemen of great 
talents and noble principles. It seems unnatural that 
they should have left their native country in the hour of 
her adversity; but, no doubt, their object is to preserve 
their lives, in this land of liberty, for the service of France 
when she shall again be true to herself. Colonel L. who 
was at the fatal battle of Waterloo, is a real Frenchman. 
He considers Buonaparte a [236] great and good man ; but 
says, that in several instances he acted imprudently. The 
Colonel almost hates his country for abandoning that 
great General, who had so long defended France, and who 
had acquired for her unparalleled fame. France was, in- 
deed, great; and Frenchmen have had much cause for 
pride. All Europe combined for her subjugation. The 
coalition of a world was necessary to subdue a single na- 
tion, acting under the auspices of the mighty genius of 
her Emperor. This man, even in his humiliation, is the 
terror of all Europe ; and this terror arises from their sense 

i8i8] Evanses Pedestrious Tour 343 

of his superiority. All Europe are now engaged in legis- 
lating upon this wonderful character; whole fleets are em- 
ployed in guarding him; and vast armies are stationed on 
the confines of France, to prevent the rise of that spirit 
which he had created in her bosom. Shame to England ! 
shame to her Continental allies ! Why do not these Powers 
who boast of their strength and their magnanimity, leave 
this King of men to choose his own residence ? He over- 
threw Monarchs, but he did not trample upon them, — 
he generously restored them their crowns and their lib- 
erty. If England, — if the powers of the continent wish 
to destroy Buonaparte, why do they not issue, at once, an 
order for his execution ? Why do they disgrace them- 
selves, by the infliction of contemptible privations ? Well 
may this great man say, when deprived of that liberty 
which is essential to health, ' ' if these proceedings should 
be fatal to me, I bequeath my death to the reigning house 
of England." 

I am not sensible of any undue partiality for France. 
I wish, in this world of error, to be a candid spectator of 
passing events, and, in my humble sphere, to approve of 
what is great, and to censure what is mean. Many per- 
sons cannot bear the name of France, on account of the 
horrors of her Revolution; [237] but they should reflect, 
that these excesses were the natural consequence of op- 
pression. The Monarchy of France was corrupt and 
tyrannical. Her religion was foul, and deceptive. When 
the light of liberty shone upon the recesses of her pollu- 
tions, the people were shocked; and in a paroxism of as- 
tonishment, and indignation, declared that the Christian 
Religion itself was a mere name. Did not England go as 
far as this ? Previous to the Restoration, her Parliament 
declared the Decalogue to be without authority. 

Opposite the City of New-Orleans the river is more 

344 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

than a mile wide. The channel is very deep, and the cur- 
rent rapid. Boats, destined for the city, are sometimes 
swept down the stream for several miles, before they can 
make a landing. The inhabitants of the place procure 
all their water from the Mississippi; but it is generally 
filtered before using. The boatmen, however, drink it as 
it is; and some suppose it, in this state, conducive to health. 
It must not, however, be taken from the eddies. 

The numerous stories, which have so often been circu- 
lated, and believed, respecting the cruel modes of fighting, 
prevalent among the boatmen of the west, are, generally 
speaking, untrue. During the whole of my tour, I did 
not witness one engagement, or see a single person, who 
bore those marks of violence which proceed from the in- 
human mode of fighting, said to exist in the west, partic- 
ularly in Kentucky and Tennessee. The society of this 
part of the world is becoming less savage, and more re- 

The judicial proceedings at New-Orleans are recorded 
both in the French and English languages; and the juries 
there consist of men of both nations. In all cases, ex- 
cepting those of a criminal nature, the Code Napoleon 
prevails; but in criminal cases, [238] the Common Law is 
the rule of action. Here genius is not trammelled by the 
rules of special pleading. The allegations of the parties, 
if intelligible, have to encounter no quibbles. 

The science of special pleading is, no doubt, a science 
purely logical; and so far the courts of New-Orleans rec- 
ognize it; but in the New-England states many rules, in 
relation to this subject, which have no foundation in rea- 
son, and which are the vestiges of ancient sophistry, are 
adhered to, by some of our lawyers, with all the pedantry 
of ignorance, and the pertinacity of dullness. Many a 
genius has left the bar of our judicial tribunals, because 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 345 

he would not consent to argue upon rules which had no 
foundation in common sense, and to quibble upon points, 
upon which effrontery and nonsense may prevail over 
modesty and reason. 

The lawyers in New-Orleans acquire immense fortunes 
by their profession ; and it may be added, that physicians 
and surgeons are equally successful. It requires almost 
a fortune there to fee a lawyer, or to obtain medical ad- 
vice ; and real estate is so valuable, that actions upon land 
titles often involve several hundred thousand dollars. 

In this city, a building is about being erected for a Pres- 
byterian society. Over this congregation, the Rev. Mr. 
Lamed is to be ordained. The eloquence of this gentle- 
man is highly spoken of. 

There is, perhaps, no place in the civilized world, where 
the influence of the gospel is more needed than at New- 
Orleans. There the light of Revelation exists; but the 
people walk in moral darkness. The thunder of divine 
displeasure alone can arouse them from their deep 
slumber. It may, indeed, be supposed, that they are 
' ' dead in trespasses and sins. ' ' 

Here I may observe, that the success of the gospel [239] 
depends, as jar as it respects human means, upon modes 
of preaching; and these modes should always have a ref- 
erence to the education and habits of the people. Where 
there is little or no sense of the obligations of morality, it 
is truly unwise to expatiate upon abstruse doctrinal points. 
It is very doubtful whether discussions upon the mysteri- 
ous parts of scripture are ever useful ; and it is certain that 
such discussions are often productive of contention, dis- 
couragement, and unbelief. Although a layman, I would 
respectfully recommend to some of our clergy, to doubt 
their own wisdom; to suspect their ability to understand 
those secret things which belong unto God; and to take 

34^ Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

with them the following words of the son of Sirach: — ■ 
"Seek not out the things which are too hard for thee, 
neither search the things which are above thy strength; 
but what is commanded, think thou upon with reverence. ' ' 

The love of money in New-Orleans is conspicuous ; and 
the vast sums, which may there be accumulated, render 
keen the spirit of avarice. This spirit is too prevalent 
throughout the United States, and much fraud is the con- 
sequence of it. It is truly disgusting to hear people con- 
tinually inquiring respecting this and that man's property; 
as though property was the only subject worthy of re- 
mark, and the only test of merit. 

The love of wealth in this country is making rapid in- 
roads upon the love of principle; and nothing can retard 
its progress but the exclusive patronage of virtue and 

These two last terms constitute true taste; and this 
should be the only distinction in society. The distinc- 
tion of wealth is odious; and that of birth is nonsensical. 
Neither is learning the exclusive test of merit. High 
talents may exist without much learning, [240] and can 
easily overthrow the tinsel of the schools. Integrity, 
noble principles, polished sentiments, and a becoming de- 
portment, constitute the real gentleman ; and such a man^ 
whether he originated in a palace, or in a straw-built shed, 
is an ornament to society, and an honour to any com- 

There are, no doubt, public and private advantages in 
wealth. As a motive, it enlists the passions in behalf of 
science, industry, and commercial enterprise; but no man 
is justified in desiring a great estate, excepting for the pur- 
pose of aiding private charity, and institutions which 
have in view the welfare of mankind. Gold and silver are 
of consequence to a state, both as a circulating medium, 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 347 

and as a means of dividing property, and distributing it to 
those, whose gains are small, and whose pecuniary in- 
dependence is important both to them and to the com- 
munity; but those who regard this shining dross more 
than justice and prudence warrant, ought to be despised. 
Compared with the vast estates frequently accumulated 
for selfish purposes, mankind want but little. Artificial 
views incur unnecessary expenses, and fraud is frequently 
made to cater for their discharge. 

It may be supposed that I ought, ere this stage in my 
tour, to have mentioned some particular, relative to the 
prevailing manners and customs of the people situated in 
those parts of the country through which I passed. But 
my course did not lead me through many settled places, 
and I met with no peculiarities, in relation to this subject, 
worthy of remark. Indeed, the Yankees are so scattered 
over the whole country, and their influence in society is 
generally so considerable, that their habits and modes of 
living are, in a greater or less degree, imitated every where. 
These observations apply particularly to that part of the 
country west of the Ohio. At [241] New-Orleans, the 
population being principally French, the manners and 
customs of the place are, generally speaking, peculiar to 

Upon my arrival at New-Orleans, and in looking back 
upon my course, I could not but be forcibly impressed 
with the wonderful wealth and physical force of the 
United States. In comparing the present situation of the 
country with what it was when first discovered by Euro- 
peans, the mind is astonished; and in dwelling upon its 
probable increase, in the course of one hundred years, 
numbers fail, and calculation becomes alarmed. Here 
too, the hand of Providence is visible in the discovery and 
settlement of the country; in the protection of the infant 

348 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

colonies of our forefathers, and in the great events of our 
history to the present time. With reference to these ideas? 
the thoughts of the Psalmist interestingly apply: — "Unto 
thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheri- 
tance." And again: ''When there were but a few men 
in number, yea, very few, and strangers in it ; He suffered 
no man to do them wrong ! — He reproved kings for their 
sakes. ' ' 

Any comparison, which I may make between the coun- 
try situated on the Mississippi, and the New-England 
States, will, perhaps, be partial. That I prefer the latter, 
in every point of view, wUl be readily accounted for. It 
may appear strange, however, that my principal objec- 
tion to the former, is the productive capacity of its soil. 
Both in a moral and political point of view, this is a seri- 
ous evU. Industry is indispensable to the health of the 
mental and physical nature of man ; and also to the pres- 
ervation of his virtue. On the Mississippi, plenty may 
be obtained by a very small degree of labour. An addi- 
tional exertion produces wealth; and indolence, luxury, 
and dissipation are, in this [242] part of the United States, 
its general consequences. This is too, in a measure, the 
case with all the western country. There are many other 
objections; but they are too numerous to mention. The 
country on the Mississippi is not a grazing country. 
The hills of New-England feed, on the contrary, the finest 
cattle, furnish the most delightful prospects, and produce 
the hardiest plants of freedom. New-England too, is a 
peculiarly happy country with respect to religion, morals, 
education, and health. Here industry gives a zest to the 
ordinary enjoyments of life, strengthens the mind for the 
acquisition of knowledge, prepares the heart for the de- 
fence of principle, and nerves the physical man for the 
maintenance of national right. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 349 

I might now consider my pedestrious tour as finished; 
but it may not be amiss to continue my narrative to the 
time of my arrival in New-Hampshire. As this, however, 
will be rather an unproductive field, I must introduce, in 
my course, some brief reflections upon foreign topics. 

About the first of July I sailed from New-Orleans for 
Boston. The course of a vessel from and to these places 
is circuitous, and nearly as long as that of a voyage across 
the Atlantic. The distance is about 2,500 miles. 

Having hauled off from the Levee into the current, we 
beat down the river with a light breeze; at length took in 
our top-gallant-sails, moved briskly about thirty miles, 
and moored along the bank for the night. I had previ- 
ously been below the city, about seven leagues, for the 
purpose of visiting General Wilkinson. In the General's 
library I met with many rare and interesting works. Dur- 
ing this excursion I viewed the celebrated battle-ground, 
five miles below New- Orleans."^ The Americans were 
fortified, having a marsh in front, the river on [243] the 
right, an impervious wood on the left, and the resources 
of the city in the rear: — an admirable position! The 
enemy displayed the most desperate courage in attacking 
the Americans thus situated. British glory never shone 
brighter than upon this occasion; and British troops never 
experienced a greater overthrow. 

Below New-Orleans snakes, lizards, and alligators are 
numerous; and the bees and grasshoppers are very large. 
Here one almost supposes himself in the West-Indies. 
Cotton does not flourish well so low down as General 
Wilkinson's plantation; but sugar-cane is here remark- 
ably productive. The craw-fish, which naturalists say is 

"^ For a brief biography of General Wilkinson, see Cuming's Tour, note 
160. The site of the battle of New Orleans (January 8, 1815) is five miles 
below the city. — Ed. 

3 5 o Early Western Travels [Vol. S 

a fresh water lobster, here passes under the banks of the 
Mississippi to a considerable distance, and comes up 
through the earth into the fields. This circumstance 
proves that the land in this part of the country is afloat, 
and also that this species of animated nature is amphibi- 
ous. It is exceedingly interesting to notice the economy 
of nature in her transitions from the vegetable to the ani- 
mal world ; and in some measure, from the mere animal to 
human existence. With respect to the former we may 
inquire whether the oyster and sponge are animals or 
vegetables? The oyster is rooted to the earth like a 
plant, and yet it feeds upon animals. The dexterity 
which it displays in closing its shells upon those worms, 
which are so unfortunate as to creep into them, is worthy 
of remark. There are two amphibious plants as well as 
amphibious animals. The flag is considered an aquatic; 
but it flourishes best between land and water. An 
amphibious fish, such as the craw-fish appears to be, is 
a new link in the chain of existences. 

About eighteen miles below New-Orleans is the English 
Turn."' This is a bend in the river, which [244] is thus 
called, because the English ships, in their first attempt 
upon the city, were obliged to return. Twenty-five miles 
below the Turn is Fort Plaquemine."* This fort is on 
the left side of the river, and makes a very elegant appear- 
ance. Not far from this place, the country immediately 
becomes very low; trees soon disappear; and the river 

^^ Bienville, colonial governor of Louisiana, returning from an exploring 
trip (1699), met an English vessel of sixteen guns, about eighteen nailes- 
below the site of New Orleans. The captain stated he was looking for a loca- 
tion for an Enghsh colony, and Bienville assured him that the Mississippi was 
already occupied by the French. Much to the latter's surprise, the vessel 
sailed away. From this episode the English Bend received its name, not, as 
Evans imphes, from the attacking fleet of 1815. — Ed. 

*" Plaquemine Turn is thirty miles from the mouth of the Mississippi. It 
was fortified by the French in 1 746. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 351 

flows over both its banks, watering immense marshes, 
covered with flags and high grass. 

Two days after leaving New-Orleans for the eastward, 
we passed the above mentioned fort, and towards even- 
ing, anchored near the shore. Here the prospect from 
the top gallant-masts of the vessel was gloomy. In the 
course of the evening, a black and ragged little schooner 
floated by us; and she proved to be the vessel, from the 
fore-yard of which the Indian Chief Hemattlemico, and 
the Indian Prophet Francis were hung, by order of Gen- 
eral Jackson."^ — 

"Oh! what doth that vessel of darkness bear! 
The silent calm of the grave is there: — 

Save now, and again, a death knell rung; 

And the flap of her sails, with night fog hung." 

The late conduct of General Jackson has excited much 
interest, both in Europe and America. Some advocate 
his proceedings, and like himself, seem determined to 
brave the tempest which is ready to overwhelm him. 
That is a dear and glorious cause, which involves moral 
strength and physical weakness; and I should rejoice in 
enlisting under the banners of a virtuous man, when 
unjustly assailed by popular prejudice, and popular in- 
dignation. But General Jackson has violated the prin- 
ciples of humanity, and tarnished the glory of the nation. 
Whatever may be the services of our public men they 
must be taught that they are the servants of the [245] 
people, and at all times officially accountable to them. 
No one is disposed to deny that General Jackson has done 

"'' When, during the Seminole War, Jackson took possession of St. Marks, 
the Indian prophet Francis or HeUis Hajo, and the chief HemoUemico, were 
lured on board an American vessel (April 6, 1818) and hung by Jackson's 
orders. These Indians had led the attack, the previous November, upon a 
boat under command of Lieutenant Scott, which was ascending the Appalachi- 
cola River. Having been forced to surrender, all survivors were tortured to 
death. Jackson's act was in retaliation for this outrage. — Ed- 

352 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

much for the United States; but this is only one side of the 
subject: Julius Cesar was a celebrated general, and 
achieved great victories for Rome; but Julius Cesar 
became a tyrant. 

I do not pretend to know what were the motives of 
General Jackson in putting to death the above mentioned 
Indians, who, it appears, had been decoyed into the cus- 
tody of his officers, and were prisoners of war; but we have 
reason to believe that they were bad motives. Conscious 
of his high military reputation, the native ferocity of his 
disposition, cloaking itself under the garb of energy, burst 
upon these poor, ignorant savages, who, being prisoners 
of war, were perfectly harmless. And why was this ? be- 
cause they refused to answer a question which he put for 
the purpose of entrapping them. — The very essence of 

Neither General Jackson, nor the government had any 
more right to take the lives of these Indians, than the 
British, even setting aside the idea of rebellion, would have 
had to execute General Washington, had he, during the 
Revolutionary war, been taken prisoner. The Indians, 
engaged in the Seminole war, were at issue with the 
United States. The parties were equally independent, — 
their rights were equal. The law of nature is the original 
source of all national right, and Indian tribes are in a state 
of nature. 

General Jackson's conduct upon this occasion is a dis- 
grace to the country. The act was as unmanly as it 
was inhuman. It may be said by ignorance, affectation, 
and prejudice, that Indians sometimes destroy our men 
when taken prisoners. What ! shall we abandon the pre- 
cepts of religion, the principles of humanity, and the polish 
of civilization, to [246] learn manners and customs in the 
ferocious schools of savage life ? The displeasure of the 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 353 

American people alone can remove from themselves the 
disgrace, with which such conduct on the part of a public 
servant naturally clothes them. 

As to the course which General Jackson took, relative 
to the execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, it was en- 
tirely inconsistent with that dispassionate investigation 
which ought ever to characterize the American Govern- 
ment/^" Admitting, for the sake of argument, that this 
course is sanctioned by the law of nations, is this law 
our only guide ? And is this law perfect ? — It is the 
work of man, — the work of those civilians, whose dust 
has long since been scattered by the winds! It is, too, 
the common law of independent communities. But what 
are they? Precisely what their courts are made of: — 
tyranny, intrigue, and dissipation. Oh ! there is a higher 
rule of action than the law of nations. Our conduct 
should be regulated by those great and pure principles, 
which will stand the test of reason and conscience, both 
on earth and in heaven. 

Why is General Jackson so fond of blood ? Why so 
disposed to crush every forsaken individual, whom the 
fortune of war places in his hands ? Is this moral energy ? 
— or is it a barbarous animal impulse ? With the mod- 
esty of a true soldier, General Jackson should have trans- 
ferred to the Government his prisoners and his trophies. 
Time might have thrown some light upon the subject of 

i" During Jackson's expedition against the Seminoles, two Indian traders 
were also captured — Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert C. Ambrister. Both 
were put to death after the form of a trial, on the charge of being guilty of incit- 
ing the Seminole Indians to war against the United States. The latter was 
shot and the former hung from the yardarm of his vessel, April 29, 1818, at 
St. Marks, Florida. The execution raised a storm; Henry Clay, on the floor 
of the House, the following year, during the famous twelve-day debate on 
Jackson's Seminole War conduct, declared that if Jackson were voted the public 
thanks, it would be a triumph of insubordination of military over civil authori- 
ties. The long feud between Jackson and Clay began with that speech. — Ed 

354 Early Western Travels [Vol.8 

the persons executed; and they might, at some future 
period, have had a fairer trial. There is reason to beheve, 
that both General Jackson and the Court Martial were 
prejudiced against the prisoners. As these persons were 
supposed to have been the instigators of the war — a war 
which was, at first, so lamely [247] maintained on our part 
— a war which resulted in the death of some of our peo- 
ple, it was natural for General Jackson, and the persons 
composing the Court Martial, to entertain hostile feelings 
towards the accused. And shall prejudice and hostility 
be the triors in a case of life and death ? This transac- 
tion too, is a disgrace to the country; and although, as Mr. 
Secretary Adams says. General Jackson will not, in re- 
lation to it, incur the censure of the Government, those of 
the people who wish to see their country exemplary in 
every thing, will endeavour, by condemning the act, to 
shield that country from reproach. 

Mr. Adams' letter to our Minister at the Court of Spain, 
relative to this subject, does the nation injustice ; and it is 
surprising that it should be so much eulogized.*" I am 
disposed to entertain a high opinion of the talents and pa- 
triotism of Mr. Adams; but his communication is undigni- 
fied. It evinces spirit, but it is the ephemeral spirit of 
political paragraphists. Why does this great man conde- 
scend to flourish about ''M'Gregor's mock-patriots, and 
Nicholls' negroes ?" To say nothing respecting the osten- 
tatious threats^ which the communication contains, its 
pinks and posies but illy become the silvered brow of a 
diplomatic veteran. To threaten is the peculiar privilege 

"' Adams made his strongest defense of Jackson in his letter to Don Jose 
Pizarro, Spanish secretary of state. He reviewed the whole situation, and 
accused the Spanish and Indian traders in Florida of stirring up the Indians, 
referring to Arbuthnot as "that British Indian trader from beyond the sea, 
the firebrand by whose touch the Negro-Indian war against our borders has 
been rekindled." — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 355 

of little minds. To warn with gravity, and to act with 
decision, become the United States in her negociations 
with Spain. 

Admitting, as I have said, that the proceeding, relative 
to Arbuthnot and Ambrister, is warranted by the law of 
nations, yet as this law, as far as it respects the present 
question, is unjust and unreasonable; and as it also is 
grounded upon principles which, relative to expatriation, 
we have ever contested, both duty and policy dictate our 
decided opposition to it. It is a rule which originated in 
the [248] despotic courts of Europe; and one which Free- 
dom detests. May not an individual expatriate himself ? 
And if so, may he not become a citizen or subject in a 
foreign country ? He may become a member of a savage 
as well as of a civilized community. And by acquiring 
the right of citizenship under a foreign government, an 
individual may attain to the distinction of a leader. By 
being a citizen he becomes interested in the destinies of 
the state, and is bound to defend its rights. 

If Arbuthnot and Ambrister expatriated themselves, 
and united their fortunes with those of the Indians, they 
were, upon every view of the subject, mere prisoners of 
war; and as such should have been treated. By taking 
it for granted that they had not expatriated themselves, 
we act upon the ground that there can be no such prin- 
ciple as expatriation, and thereby do injustice to the 
cause of liberty, and expose our own citizens to terrible 
inflictions from those tyrannical governments, who ad- 
vocate this side of the question. 

As to General Jackson entering the territory of Spain, 
^nd taking possession of Spanish posts, it was illegal, be- 
cause unnecessary; and highly improper, because not 
authorized by the government. The Indians were dis- 
persed; and an immediate renewal of the war on their 

356 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

part was not apprehended. So far this proceeding was 
without a legitimate object. And if the Spanish govern- 
ment were to blame in relation to this war, the United 
States, and not General Jackson, who was a mere servant 
of the people, acting under limited orders, were to decide 
as to the course to be pursued. 

The day after leaving Fort Plaquemine we arrived at 
the Balize."* There are here the remains of an old Span- 
ish fort, and three or four miserable dwelling-houses. 
The latter are occupied by pilots. The [249] place pre- 
sents a most wretched aspect, being scarcely above the 
water, and covered with flags and reptiles. About three 
miles below this situation are the principal passes into the 
Gulf of Mexico. The water of the Mississippi, when 
the river is high, rushes with such force through these 
passes, that fresh water may be obtained several miles 
from the land. Old passes are frequently filled, and new 
ones made, by the rapid descent of the water of the river 
during the seasons of its rise. The coast, viewed from 
the Balize, presents, as far as the eye can reach, a broken 
and desolate aspect, reminding one of the destruction of 
the Antedeluvian world. 

After waiting one or two days for a wind, we received 
a pilot, sailed through the north-east pass, and with a 
light breeze nearly ahead, moved slowly in a south-south- 
east course. We left quite a fleet of vessels at the pilot- 
ground, and there were, at this time, several large ships 
beating into the Balize. The north-east pass is not more 
than eight rods wide ; and on both sides of it are low banks 
of mud. There are several other passes, which are taken 

*°' The Balise was in early times the best and deepest pass into the Missis- 
sippi River. Now known as Southwest Pass, it is not used, there being hardly 
six feet of water on the bar. It was fortified by Bienville about 1720. — Ed. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 357 

by the pilots according to the wind and the draught of 
the vessel. 

For many days we experienced light winds on our lar- 
board bow; our progress, of course, was inconsiderable. 
For many days too, previous to our making the islands of 
Tortugas, and even after reaching the island of Cuba, 
our progress was completely retarded by calms and light 
head winds. Being in the calm latitudes at this season 
of the year is very unpleasant. An almost vertical sun 
pours his rays upon the deck, and produces an insuffer- 
able heat. 

During this state of things, I may look back, for a mo- 
ment, to New-Orleans. No place in the world furnishes 
a greater field for speculation upon physiognomy, and for 
reflection upon national characteristics, [250] than this 
city. The former is a science too much neglected. A 
knowledge of human nature is of consequence to all; 
and particularly so to the philosopher, and man of busi- 
ness. The human countenance is the index of the human 
heart. But little dependance, however, can be placed 
upon those rules, which relate altogether to the lines of the 
human face. In relation to this subject men of penetra- 
tion, who have acquired a habit of forming an opinion 
upon every stranger who presents himself, experiences, 
upon these occasions, a kind of inspiration, which sel- 
dom errs. This effect is not surprising, because the 
human countenance always expresses, both morally and 
physically, the ruling passions of the heart; and practice, 
in all sciences and arts, produces wonderful proficiency. 

With respect to national characteristics, I fear that I 
cannot be impartial without giving offence. But the 
truth is as much against myself as any other person. I 
speak only of national characteristics ; of course the opin- 

o^8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

ion is general, and there may be individual exceptions. 
Besides, as to individuals, transplanting sometimes 
improves the original stock. This, I apprehend, is par- 
ticularly the case with the English in America. My par- 
tiality, perhaps, begins to display itself. How natural is 
it for one to think well of his own country ! Yet truth 
should be more dear to a man than his native land. The 
Americans are a mixed people ; but the institutions of the 
country direct their affections to one common centre. 
They are, therefore, one people; and their principles 
and feelings comport with our noble systems of polity. 
All nations have their faults; but I think the Americans 
possess the greatest virtues and the fewest imperfections. 
I need not occupy much ground upon this subject. The 
most prominent nations are the best tests of national char- 
acteristics. [251] Small communities are almost innu- 
merable; and they, generally, partake, more or less, of 
the dispositions of long established, and mighty sovereign- 
ties. I confine my views to the English, Irish, French, 
and American nations. The Irish are intelligent, hos- 
pitable, and courageous; but they are credulous, resentful, 
and violent in all their affections: — great virtues, and 
great vices characterize them. The English are sensible, 
generous, and brave; but they are supercilious, overbear- 
ing, and vain glorious. The French are perspicacious, 
enthusiastic, and intrepid ; but they are fickle, vain, and, in 
prosperity, impertinent. The Americans seem to be a 
people distinct from every other. — They possess all the 
good qualities of the English, and they are real gentlemen 
in the bargain. 

I now return again to the Gulf of Mexico. Here we 
frequently experienced heavy squalls, accompanied by 
severe thunder and lightning. In one instance several of 
our men were stricken by the latter. The squalls gener- 

i8i8] 'Evanses Pedesfrious Tour 359 

ally commenced at day break. Such a scene as they pro- 
duce is truly sublime. Here man feels, that however 
small may be his merit, his nature is noble. In the midst 
of an apparently shoreless ocean, his little bark, tossed 
by the winds and waves, he is sensible of the grandeur 
of his temerity, and prides himself in the efi&cacy of his 
skill. It is not surprising that sailors are generous. A 
little mind could not exist upon the deep. Its mighty 
influences will either enlarge or petrify the heart : — raise 
the noble soul, or drive the narrow spirit into the cock- 
boats, and creeks of the interior. The rough manners 
too, of the children of the sea are perfectly natural: — 
they have long conversed with winds and waves. 

Whilst in the Gulf of Mexico, we caught a great many 
dolphins; and sharks frequently came around [252] our 
vessel. Several times, about a dozen of these voracious 
creatures presented themselves. Our mate caught one of 
them, and it measured ten feet in length. The pilot- 
fish, which attends the shark, is only a few inches long; 
and like the jackall, accompanying the lion, seems to 
cater for prey, and to partake of the spoil. The sucker- 
fish, frequently found on the shark, is worthy of notice. 
It is very small, and its colour is black. Its gills are on 
the top of the head, instead of being in the usual place; 
and the sucker itself is under the head, and has the appear- 
ance of the bars of a gridiron. Its capacity to adhere to 
any thing, by suction, is great. Nature seems so fond of 
variety, and her modes of existence appear to be so infinite, 
that there is much reason to deny the existence of a vac- 
uum. The flying-fish is remarkable, for its uniting the 
aspect of the fish with the principal capacity of the bird. 
The dolphin is the implacable enemy of this fish; nature 
has, therefore, given it the power to fly. Whilst at sea, 
I witnessed an interesting chase between these two species 

360 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

of fish. When the dolphin, the speed of which is very 
great, overtakes the flying-fish, the latter rises out of the 
water, and descends at a considerable distance; but the 
dolphin, swimming on the surface, often sees its prey 
alight, and speedily overtakes it. The dolphin furnishes 
an excellent model for ship building. 

Sixteen days after leaving the Balize we discovered land 
from the top-gallant-mast-head; and it proved to be the 
principal island of Tortugas. After running up within 
three leagues of it, we bore away, and made the island of 
Cuba. This is the largest of the West-India islands. Its 
length is about seven hundred miles; and the face of the 
country is mountainous. In coasting along this island 
we came within a league of the Moro Castle, which, to- 
gether [253] with several Forts, protect the city of Ha- 
vana. On all the works are mounted about one thousand 
cannon. The Havana is a great commercial place. It 
is the usual station of the principal maratime force of 
Spanish America, and the place of rendezvous for the 
vessels from the Colonies, on their homeward voyage. It 
is too, a place of immense wealth, and its population 
amounts, probably, to 80,000. 

Whilst coasting along the Island of Cuba, and particu- 
larly during the evening of our arrival off the Havana, 
we experienced high winds. In one instance the aspect 
of every thing around us was black, windy, and wild ; and 
we found it necessary to lower our topsails, and take two 
reefs in our mainsail. At this time there were several 
ships in sight ; and each laboured, in darkness, her boister- 
ous course. 

The next day a land bird, of the heron species, having 
been driven from the coast by the late gale, sought an 
asylum on board of our vessel. For hours, she wandered, 
like the Antedeluvian dove, and found no rest for her feet. 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 361 

It was interestingly painful to see the exhausted bird wing- 
ing her tedious way along the surface of the deep; and it 
spake of the hopeless spirit, — a wanderer over the fields 
of its own desolation. 

After passing Port Matansas, we doubled Cape Florida, 
entered the Gulf of this name, and came in sight of the 
Keys, and of the principal island of Bahama. Here the 
Gulf stream quickened our progress about three knots 
per hour. The waters of this stream, influenced by the 
trade winds and other causes, flow through the Caribbean 
islands, and enter the Mexican Gulf between Cuba and 
the Promontory of Yucatan. Compressed by the sur- 
rounding coasts, it pursues its course between East Flor- 
ida and the Bahama Islands, and runs along the coast of 
North America to the Banks of Newfoundland. From 
thence, it passes through the Azores [254] to the south, and 
gradually mingles its waters with those of the ocean. 
Some suppose, that this impetus is preserved until the 
water strikes that part of the Equator from whence it 
commenced its course. It is probable that the trade 
winds operate, at first, with great violence; because, 
owing to the centrifugal force of the water, occasioned by 
the diurnal motion of the earth around its axis, the sea is 
elevated at the Equator, much more than at the poles. 

The nearest distance of the Gulf Stream from the 
United States is about seventy-five miles; and its breadth 
is about forty miles. Such is the rapidity of this stream, 
that it retains a considerable degree of its tropical heat, 
even after reaching its most easterly point of destination. 
The colour of the water of the Gulf is dark, and its depth 
very great. This latter circumstance is, probably, oc- 
casioned by the force of the current at the bottom, and 
by its curvilineal form on the surface. It may be pre- 
sumed, that in the vicinity of the Gulf the progress of ves- 

362 Early Western Travels [Vol. 8 

sels, bound to the north is retarded. Some portion of the 
Gulf water will, by being propelled faster than that which 
precedes it, fly from the centre, and rebound so as to pro- 
duce a counter current. 

When opposite Cape Canaveral, in latitude 49, we ex- 
perienced a high wind on our larboard quarter. Here we 
lowered our topsail, and took two reefs in our fore and 
main-sail. At this time there was a large English ship 
under our starboard bow. The next day the weather 
again became variable, and we experienced another 

As nothing worthy of remark occurred for a day or two 
from this period, I again suppose myself in New-Orleans, 
for the purpose of noticing some of the languages spoken 

The French is the principal language spoken in this 
city; and it is of consequence for an American to become 
acquainted with it, not only because it [255] introduces 
him to many valuable French authors, whose genius is 
peculiar and interesting, but because it is the language 
most generally spoken throughout Europe. 

The Spanish language is also much spoken in New- 
Orleans. This language resembles the Latin; but is 
inferior to it. The Emperor Charles the fifth, however, 
entertained a different opinion. He observed, that he 
would speak to his horse in German ; converse in French ; 
make love in Italian ; and pray in Spanish. His partiality 
was very natural. He thought the latter most precise 
and comprehensive. The Portuguese language also is 
often heard in New-Orleans; and it is very much like the 

The Greek language, although so long dead, is, no 
doubt, the best of the known languages of the world. 
The Latin is nearly as good ; and the English is probably 

i8i8] Evans's Pedestrious Tour 363 

not inferior to any of the others. But all languages, 
abstractedly considered, are poor: — poor as to the pre- 
cision of thought, the expression of sentiment, and the 
harmony of diction. 

The usual manner of acquiring a knowledge of foreign 
languages, is both unnatural and tedious. Foreign lan- 
guages should be acquired precisely as we learn our 
native tongue. In becoming acquainted with our own 
language, we acquire a knowledge of language in the 
abstract; and this knowledge applies to all foreign lan- 
guages. There must, for example, be in every language 
a name attached to a thing, and also a mode of 
conveying an idea of the qualities of that thing. The par- 
ticular meaning of a word, the manner of its pronuncia- 
tion, the combinations of the several necessary parts of 
speech, and other peculiarities of language, depend upon 
compact ; — upon the common consent of each distinct 
people. Hence the great diversity of languages. 

[256] To become what is generally understood by the 
phrase a linguist, it is necessary to possess only a common 
understanding, accompanied by a good memory and by 
application; but to become a real philological scholar 
requires genius. 

I now return to the vessel, and find her in the latitude 
of Cape Fear. Here we experienced a very heavy squall, 
took in several of our sails, lowered our main peak, and 
scud. The scene was highly interesting. At this time a 
little black schooner from Bassatere hurried by us, like 
the messenger of death, and our captain hailed her, 
through night. The sea laboured in wrath, and the 
moon, partially covered by a cloud, looked at the storm 

The next day the weather was calm, and for several 
succeeding evenings delightful. During these, there were 

364 Rarly Western Travels [Vol. 8 

many vessels in sight, and we spoke the brig Com- 

From Cape Hatteras to the latitude of 40, we experi- 
enced very favourable winds ; and during most of the time 
progressed at the rate of ten knots per hour. I now con- 
sidered my course nearly finished; and it was natural for 
me to reflect upon the voyage of human life. The ocean 
is, in many respects, a true emblem of man's probationary 
state. — Its rolling waves resemble successive genera- 
tions; its storms and calms remind him of human vicissi- 
tudes; the rocks of its coasts speak of the stability of 
virtue; and its havens direct the thoughts to the security 
and peace of a better world. 

After a passage of thirty days, I arrived at Boston, im- 
mediately proceeded to New-Hampshire, and there found 
my friends in the enjoyment of that protection, which 
results from the wisdom of our laws, when aided by the 
approbation of a virtuous community. 


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